Civil Society


Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labour leaders, religious leaders, faith-based organizations and other civil society actors are key members of the World Economic Forum’s multistakeholder platform. These communities bring leaders from a wide range of fields to collaborate together with government and business leaders on finding and advocating solutions to global challenges. 

Labour Leaders 
Faith Leaders


The NGO community at the World Economic Forum consists of non-governmental organizations operating at global and regional levels. It represents a wide range of activities, including advocacy, emergency response and disaster relief, service delivery and research and expertise.

NGOs are actively engaged in the World Economic Forum’s activities including: Annual Meetings, regional meetings, and cross-cutting and industry initiatives. NGOs bring deep experience and insight to multistakeholder dialogue and partnerships formed at the World Economic Forum on topics such as: 

  • Conflict and security
  • Disaster management
  • Environment and sustainability
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial systems
  • Food security
  • Gender 
  • Information and communications
  • Health and sanitation
  • Human rights 
  • Transparency and corruption
  • Technology 
  • Youth employment

In the past year, the NGO community has contributed to several specific initiatives: Friends of Rio+20 group, Partnering Against Corruption Initiative, Disaster Resource Partnership, New Vision for Agriculture, Responsible Mineral Development Initiative, Urban Development, Energy for Society, Collaborative Innovation, Green Growth Action Alliance and the Water Resources Group. 

Members of the NGO community are highly involved in numerous Global Agenda Councils.

Labour Leaders

Labour organizations are engaged and integrated in all World Economic Forum activities as experts and thought leaders on issues of globalization, economic revitalization, environment, employment and social protection, as well as ensuring accountability in the global financial system social protection systems, the role of finance in society, green jobs and sustainability.

Labour Leaders are actively engaged at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meetings, regional meetings and summits, Global Agenda Councils and in cross-cutting and industry initiatives. During 2011-12, deeper interaction and integration have led to substantive involvement in a range of international governance processes and sector-led dialogues. 

Faith Leaders

With 80% of the world’s population adhering to a religion, faith communities represent a powerful driver for transformation and change. The World Economic Forum recognizes the relevance of religion and faith to the global economy, politics, society and individuals, and is keenly aware of the important role played by faith communities around the world in advancing human society in an inclusive and sustainable way. Over the years, the Forum’s multistakeholder platform has increasingly integrated the voice of influential religious leaders from multiple faiths, including faith-based organizations and experts on religion to contribute with their unique perspectives to the global dialogue and to the activation of solutions to the most pressing common challenges. This participation has enriched the shaping of global, industry and regional agendas with dimensions of inclusiveness, sustainable development, human dignity and personal resilience. 

Deeper interaction and integration during 2011-2012 has resulted in significant civil society engagement to shape international governance and corporate responsibility agendas. In 2012, a new Global Agenda Council on the Role of Civil Society was established to provide a platform for debate, analysis and solution-building around the role of civil society in global decision-making processes. 

The World Economic Forum has also embarked on a project drawing on strategic foresight expertise to explore The Future Role of Civil Society. Engaging labour, faith-based and NGO communities, as well as representatives of business, government and international organizations, the Future Role of Civil Society project highlights the most salient economic, social, environmental, political and technological drivers that influence how we respond to societal challenges. Project participants used these drivers to build challenging scenarios for civil society in 2030, in the process uncovering fresh insight into the creation of resilient and dynamic cross-sector partnerships. 

Finally, a regular cycle of consultation is held to ensure that the expert views of civil society organizations are well integrated in the World Economic Forum’s activities.


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