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WEF 2023: Davos Prepares For Largest Post-pandemic Gathering Of World Leaders

The World Economic Forum was forced to hold its final annual meeting in May 2022 because the summit could not be held in January due to Covid-19 pandemic-related restrictions, previously, the 2021 meeting could only be held online

Photo Credit : AP


The world's largest gathering of leaders starts on Monday in the usual snow-covered setting of this Swiss ski resort town, with thousands of participants expected to discuss ‘cooperation in a fragmented world,’ including about a hundred from India.

The World Economic Forum was forced to hold its final annual meeting in May 2022 because the summit could not be held in January due to Covid-19 pandemic-related restrictions. Previously, the 2021 meeting could only be held online.

Though the pandemic has not been declared completely over, restrictions are few, and the war in Ukraine and the economic fallout from geopolitical and health crises have made the Davos meeting, often described as the largest gathering of the global elite, very interesting.

Nearly 50 heads of government or state are expected to attend the meeting, which begins Monday, with four union ministers — Mansukh Mandaviya, Ashwini Vaishnav, Smriti Irani and R K Singh — as well as Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, as well as a number of officials and business leaders from India.

Yogi Adityanath of Uttar Pradesh and B S Bommai of Karnataka was previously named, but they are unlikely to attend the summit. Raghav Chaddha, AAP leader, is also present, as are Telangana minister K T Rama Rao and Tamil Nadu minister Thangam Thennarasu.

Gautam Adani, Sanjiv Bajaj, Kumar Mangalam Birla, N Chandrasekaran, Nadir Godrej, Ajit Gulabchand, Sajjan Jindal, Sunil Mittal, Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Nandan Nilekani, Adar Poonawalla, Rishad Premji and Sumant Sinha are among the business leaders expected to attend.

The summit will urge world leaders to address immediate economic, energy and food crises while laying the groundwork for a more sustainable and resilient world.

The organisers anticipate a large turnout from Asia, including China and Japan.

The 53rd Annual Meeting's theme will be “Cooperation in a Fragmented World” and it will bring together over 2,700 leaders from 130 countries, including 52 heads of state or government.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, South African President Cyril M Ramaphosa, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Swiss President Alain Berset and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin are among those attending.

Other top leaders include John F Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change; Avril Haines, US Director of National Intelligence; Martin J Walsh, US Secretary of Labour; Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative and Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank.

UN Secretary-general Antonio Guterres, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and WHO Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus are among those attending.

According to the World Economic Forum, the annual meeting comes at a time when multiple crises are deepening divisions and fragmenting the geopolitical landscape, and leaders must address people's immediate, critical needs while also laying the groundwork for a more sustainable, resilient world by the end of the decade.

“On a global and national level, we see multiple political, economic and social forces causing increased fragmentation. To address the root causes of this trust erosion, we must strengthen cooperation between the government and business sectors, thereby creating the conditions for a strong and long-term recovery,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

“At the same time, there must be an acknowledgement that economic development must be made more resilient, more sustainable and no one should be left behind,” he added. The 53rd Annual Meeting's programme focuses on solutions and public-private collaboration to address the world's most pressing challenges.

“It encourages world leaders to collaborate on the interconnected issues of energy, climate, and nature; investment, trade, and infrastructure; frontier technologies and industry resilience; jobs, skills, social mobility, and health and geopolitical cooperation in a multipolar world,” according to the WEF, an international organisation for public-private cooperation.

Gender and geographical diversity are given special attention in all sessions, according to the statement. This year will see the highest-ever business participation at Davos, with over 1,500 leaders registered across 700 organisations and over 600 of the world's top CEOs from financial services, energy, materials and infrastructure and information and communication technologies.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance CEO Seth F Berkley, International Transport Workers' Federation General Secretary Stephen Cotton, Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad President Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Religions for Peace Secretary-general Azza Karam and Art of Living Foundation Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar are among the civil society leaders attending the meeting. More than 125 experts and leaders from the world's top universities, research institutions and think tanks will also attend.

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