Industry

World Economic Forum’s annual meeting kicks off in Davos

The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Monday kicked off in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, with heads of state and business leaders focusing on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and economic instability amid climate change.

Under the theme of Cooperation in a Fragmented World, names shaping the global politics and business world are participating in the forum.

"So much is at stake we really need to find solutions on the wars and conflicts. We also have to secure that we don’t go into recession and we have ten years of low growth as we had in the 1970s," said Borge Brende, the World Economic Forum president.

The meeting will also see attendance by 56 finance ministers, 19 central bank heads, 30 trade ministers, and 35 foreign ministers.

It will convene more than 2,700 leaders from 130 countries, including 50 heads of state and government, as multiple crises deepen divisions and fragment the geopolitical landscape.

This year will also see the highest-ever business participation at Davos, with more than 1,500 leaders from 700 organizations.

Top political leaders

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is the only Group of Seven leader attending the summit.

Top political leaders attending the summit include European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

The heads of Spain, the Philippines, South Africa, and South Korea will also appear at the Swiss ski resort.

US Climate Envoy John Kerry, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, European Central Bank head Christine Lagarde, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, and Turkish economist and energy expert Fatih Birol, the executive director of International Energy Agency, will also take part in the event.

Laurence Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, an American multinational investment company, will be there as well.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy previously said his government is preparing to attend Davos, adding that he has been in touch with Fink about the reconstruction effort after the end of the continuing Moscow-Kyiv war, which is about to enter its 12th month.

"Specialists of this company are already helping Ukraine to structure the fund for the reconstruction of our state," said Zelenskyy, who had a video call with Fink in September.

Climate, anti-Davos protesters press world leaders to rethink economic system

On Sunday, several groups staged anti-Davos demonstrations, protesting global firms for exacerbating human-made damage to the environment.

Activists from the Strike-WEF Collective and the Young Socialists of Switzerland gathered in Davos Postplatz on Sunday, criticizing the Davos elite, accusing them of elitism and hypocrisy for – for instance – flying in private jets to a meeting to discuss climate change.

Gianna Catrina, 21, one of the protest leaders, told Anadolu that the ecological crisis right now is fueled by the current economic system, which, she said, "is the cause of the environmental problems and also a lot of social problems."

Claudio Bernard, another protester from the Strike-WEF Collective, said they demand the abolition of the WEF because the way it is structured is problematic, "with the people of power and money that come here and the rest of the public is outside."

Source: Anadolu Agency