Recurring financial instabilities have brought new problems to societies, making it vital that governments implement policies that safeguard human dignity and favor the family, Pope Francis has said.

In his message for the opening of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,  the Holy Father said this year’s theme — Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World — is a “timely” one, and urged world leaders to build “inclusive, just and supportive societies” capable of restoring the dignity of those who live with “great uncertainty.”

He noted problems of growing unemployment, poverty, the widening gap between rich and poor, and new forms of slavery, “often rooted in situations of conflict, migration and various social problems.”

Men and women, he added, “risk being reduced to mere cogs in a machine that treats them as items of consumption to be exploited, with the result that — as is so tragically apparent — whenever a human life no longer proves useful for that machine, it is discarded with few qualms.”

“In this context,” he continued, “it is vital to safeguard the dignity of the human person, in particular by offering to all people real opportunities for integral human development and by implementing economic policies that favor the family.”

The Pope also addressed the issue of artificial intelligence and robotics, saying they should “contribute to the service of humanity and to the protection of our common home, rather than to the contrary.”

He turned to the “plight of vulnerable and suffering people,” saying the world cannot “continue to move forward as if the spread of poverty and injustice had no cause.”

The Holy Father also said it is “a moral imperative” to ensure people live “in a dignified manner” by rejecting a “throwaway” culture and a “mentality of indifference.”

He said the entrepreneurial world “has enormous potential” to improve the ethics of business and promote social justice, and stressed the “market must not be absolute, but honor the exigencies of justice.”

Concluding his message, the Pope said “now is the time to take courageous and bold steps for our beloved planet.  This is the right moment to put into action our responsibility to contribute to the development of humanity.”

The World Economic Forum was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and has its headquarters in Geneva.

It aims to show that entrepreneurship is in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance, and brings together people from all walks of life who can promote positive change.