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The 2023 Davos Forum’s main themes are the globalization crisis and climate change

Klaus Schwab, Chairman of World Economic Forum

Klaus Schwab, Chairman of World Economic Forum

The world’s political and economic elites are gathering in Davos next week with the ambition to “cooperate in a fragmented world” and tackle the war in Ukraine, climate change, and globalization in existential crisis. This year’s edition of the World Economic Forum “takes place in the most complex geopolitical and geoeconomic context of the last decades,” remarked the president of this forum, Borge Brende. The COVID-19 pandemic, trade conflicts between China and the United States, as well as the war in Ukraine, have contributed in recent years to the multiplication of geopolitical fault lines and fueled protectionist policies, notes AFP, according to Agerpres. “One of the main causes of this fragmentation is a lack of cooperation,” which translates into “short-term and selfish policies,” says the founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, with regret, evoking “a vicious circle.”

There was a moment “of hope for a return to the old normality, which was this kind of globalized world,” says Karen Harris, an economist at the Bain & Company consultancy. “I think we admit today that this era is about to end,” even if cooperation will still be maintained “around a small series of issues,” she emphasizes. Almost a year after the launch of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this war and its effects on world energy and defense policies will occupy a large part of the debates at Davos, AFP notes. While the Russians are absent for the second year in a row, the Ukrainians will have a delegation at the forum, and President Volodymyr Zelensky will intervene via video conference. It is an opportunity for the leadership in Kyiv to address hundreds of prominent political figures, such as the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, or the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, the approximately 600 heads of companies, the numerous representatives of the mass media and civil society, NGOs, researchers, and even stars such as the actor Idris Elba or the soprano Renee Fleming. Climate change is shaping up to be another key topic, with the forum organizers wanting the debates to make a contribution to the next series of international negotiations at COP28, a meeting that will take place at the end of this year in the United Arab Emirates. Activists are seeking to use the Davos forum to remind rich countries and energy companies of the need to finance the energy transition of developing countries and pay for the damage caused by the natural disasters that accompany climate change. However, as every year, the most important activity at Davos will take place behind the scenes, where politicians, investors, and company executives take advantage of their presence in the same place to have discussions outside the official framework of the conference.

By Sara Colin

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