Sign of the World Economic Forum in Davos  (AFP or licensors)

By Devin Watkins

Jan 18 2024

In a message to the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos, Pope Francis urges business and world leaders to ensure that economic development benefits everyone and remains tied to solidarity.

Titans of global business and politics are rubbing shoulders this week in Davos, Switzerland, under the theme: “Rebuilding Trust.”

To remind world leaders of their duty toward all of humanity, Pope Francis sent a message to the 2024 World Economic Forum, which was read out on Tuesday by Cardinal Peter Turkson and released on Wednesday.

In his message, the Pope said the greatest challenge facing humanity is to ensure peaceful coexistence and integral development for everyone.

“It is my hope,” he said, “that the participants in this year’s Forum will be mindful of the moral responsibility that each of us has in the fight against poverty, the attainment of an integral development for all our brothers and sisters, and the quest for a peaceful coexistence among peoples.”

Choppy global waters

Pope Francis noted that the Davos event takes place this year in “a very troubling climate of international instability.”

The Forum, he added, offers the chance for world leaders to explore innovative ways to build a better world, and he urged them to find ways to foster “social cohesion, fraternity, and reconciliation” among all people.

The Pope lamented the wars and prolonged conflicts that are lacerating parts of the world, many of which are wreaking death and destruction among civilians.

“The peace for which the peoples of our world yearn cannot be other than the fruit of justice,” he said. “Consequently, it calls for more than simply setting aside the instruments of war; it demands addressing the injustices that are the root causes of conflict.”

Rising inequality

Referring to the causes of conflict, the Pope pointed to the prevalence of hunger and the exploitation of natural resources, even as some parts of the world waste food and a select few get rich off of extractive industries.

He also condemned the “widespread exploitation of men, women, and children forced to work for low wages and deprived of real prospects for personal development and professional growth.”

“How is it possible,” he wondered, “that in today’s world people are still dying of hunger, being exploited, condemned to illiteracy, lacking basic medical care, and left without shelter?”

Moral compass to guide globalization

Globalization has a profoundly moral dimension, said Pope Francis, adding that development requires a moral compass to guide discussions that shape the future of the international community.

He invited businesses and states to work together to promote “far-sighted and ethically sound models of globalization”.

Development, said the Pope, “must entail subordinating the pursuit of power and individual gain, be it political or economic, to the common good of our human family, giving priority to the poor, the needy and those in the most vulnerable situations.”

Development spread to all

Finally, Pope Francis called for business leaders and politicians to prioritize the equitable distribution of progress, so that people who are economically disadvantaged may reap the benefits of global growth.

“Authentic development must be global, shared by all nations, and in every part of the world, or it will regress even in areas marked hitherto by constant progress.” – Vatican News