Public policy should place humans, not power and profits, at the center of its considerations, Pope Francis emphasized in a Jan. 21 address to the World Economic Forum.

WEF’s annual event focuses on “engaging the world’s top leaders in collaborative activities to shape the global, regional and industry agendas at the beginning of each year.”

This year’s theme is Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.

Taking place in Davos, Switzerland, from Jan. 21-24, speakers for the 2020 forum include Greta Thunberg, Christine Lagarde, Angela Merkel and Donald Trump.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development at the Vatican, presented the address to the forum on behalf of Pope Francis.

The address praised WEF for offering “an arena where political will and mutual cooperation can be guided and strengthened in overcoming the isolationism, individualism and ideological colonization that sadly characterizes too much contemporary debate.”

Referencing his May 2015 encyclical Laudato Si several times, the pontiff emphasized the importance of seeing the interconnectedness of all creation in order to move past short-term and largely self-interested decision-making processes.

After setting forth two related principles – the moral obligation to care for others, and the need for humans, rather than power or profit, to guide public policy – Pope Francis urged WEF participants to “keep in mind the high moral responsibility each of us has to seek the integral development of all our brothers and sisters, including those of future generations.”

The pontiff provided an address via proxy to WEF forums two times previously.

In 2014, he focused on the ongoing impacts of the economic downturn and that business should promote the common good, not the interests and well-being of the few.

The 2018 address touched on themes reiterated in 2020, including the problems arising from a “profits at all costs” mentality and the need to “place the human person and his or her rights at the center” of economic development.

Pope Francis’ full WEF 2020 address is available here.

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