Top business executives and academics on Wednesday kick-started the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland.
Some 2,400 participants are gathering at the tiny Swiss ski resort of Davos to debate under the theme: the Shifting Power Equation.
"Our world is rapidly changing and power is shifting geo-politically, in business terms and even in the virtual world," said Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum founder and executive chairman.
About half of the participants are business leaders, including 800 chief executive officers and chairmen from the world's leading companies. Seventy-three of the top 100 companies in the world chosen by the Financial Times, Fortune or Forbes magazines are taking part, said the forum organizers.
The companies represented at the annual meeting have a combined turnover of about 10 trillion U.S. dollars -- nearly a quarter of the world's total gross domestic product.
The annual meeting also attracted more than 200 political leaders, including 24 heads of state or government and 85 cabinet ministers.
The most prominent political leaders are German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Merkel is expected to address the opening plenary session of the annual meeting later on Wednesday.
This year's annual meeting is more relevant to Davos itself than ever as climate change is high on the agenda.
Participants who arrived on Tuesday might be surprised to see significantly less snow in the ski resort compared with the previous years. The situation was mitigated a bit by a fresh snowfall on Tuesday night.
With 17 sessions on climate change, this year's annual meeting will be the "greenest" ever at Davos.
"We are getting huge demand from our members to place climate change and issues of environmental security at the very heart of the program of the World Economic Forum," said Dominic Waughray, head of the forum's Environmental Initiatives, on Tuesday.
"The forum has already been instrumental in getting business voices heard at the very center of global decision-making on climate change but the program at this year's annual meeting shows just how crucial business leaders believe these issues are and just how serious they are in finding real solutions in partnership with governments and leading NGOs."
Apart from economics, participants are invited to discuss geopolitical changes, technology and society, and the new business environment in a connected world.
(Xinhua News Agency January 24, 2007)