This year's attendants to Davos include China's Vice President Wang Qishan, Prince William, the new President of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro, German Chancellor Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Notable absentees this year include U.S. President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May amid continuing tumult in their domestic political affairs with the U.S. government shutdown, Brexit impasse and civil unrest in France.
Brende said Trump's absence from this year's forum allowed the meeting to focus on key issues affecting the world.
"We would have liked to have had him (Trump) here but it's also important for us to focus on challenges like slowing global growth, Brexit and the environment. But what is good this year is that it really is a working meeting," he said.
The main theme of this year's WEF meeting is "Globalization 4.0: Shaping a New Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution." Essentially, WEF has said it is challenging world leaders to come up with an "inclusive" approach to globalization. The theme comes amid a continuing rise in populist politics in many countries and a backlash against globalization that critics argue has not benefited the majority in society.
"I think we really have to understand that we are all in the same boat in the globalized world, Globalization is a fact, we can't stop it, but we should improve it. One of the topics we do have in Globalization 4.0 is that we have to make sure that globalization is more equitable, more inclusive, and creates more jobs," Brende said.
Globalization also has to be sustainable, he added. "We only have one planet and currently we're acting like we have one in reserve and that is not a sustainable track."