GENEVA (AP) — After a hiatus of nearly 2 1/2 years due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Swiss city of Davos will once again host global elites from business, government and activist groups for the World Economic Forum.
Russia’s war in Ukraine and climate change concerns are expected to be on the minds of many at the event starting Monday as concerns about the pandemic subside.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy plans to intervene virtually. The largest delegation of senior Ukrainian government officials to leave the country since the war began will attend Davos in person, organizers said.
In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the forum hosts did not invite Russian officials and business leaders this year.
“I’m sure it was the right decision,” the forum’s president, Borge Brende, said during a news conference on Wednesday. “However, we hope that Russia will follow a different path … in the coming years, to start adhering to the UN Charter and its international obligations.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, US Climate Envoy John Kerry, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are among the headliners of the event.
Brende said more than 2,500 participants from business, civil society, media and government are expected to attend, including more than 50 heads of state and government.
Organizers of the gathering, which usually takes place in Davos every January, hope to be catapulted out of a pandemic that has repeatedly dashed their hopes of holding the event. The last one took place in 2020 when the pandemic was emerging, and then-US President Donald Trump attended.
Skyrocketing inflation, growing signs of climate change, and war-induced food and oil shortages in Ukraine have inherited increasing international attention as the COVID-19 crisis has subsided around the world. Davos organizers brought up superlatives to reflect the many challenges.
“Under the theme ‘Tipping Point History’, the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos this year will be the most timely and momentous annual meeting since the forum’s inception more than 50 years ago,” said the forum’s founder, Klaus Schwab. .
He said: “Our first thoughts are with the war in Ukraine. Russia’s aggression against the country will be seen in future history books as a breakdown of the post-World War II, post-Cold War order.”