After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, world political and economic elites will meet again from Sunday in the Swiss town of Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF)), dominated by the war in Ukraine and with a strong Latin American presence.

The meeting was held for the last time in the small Swiss ski resort in January 2020, with former US President Donald Trump and environmental activist Greta Thunberg as protagonists, and while concern grew about a disease that appeared in China that is still knew little.

Since then the Covid-19 pandemic has destabilized the world economycausing among other serious problems in supply chains and rising inflation.

And since last February, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the crisis has deepened, particularly with rising food and energy prices.

The pandemic prevented the forum from taking place in January this year, as usual, and this time it will be held, without snow, between May 22 and 26 under the motto "History at a turning point: Government policies and business strategies".

"Russia’s aggression (…) will go down in the history books as the collapse of the order born after World War II and the Cold War"Economist Klaus Schwab, the Forum’s founder, told reporters this week that Davos would do everything possible to support Ukraine and its reconstruction.

In addition to an intervention by Ukrainian President Volodomir Zelensky on Monday by videoconference, the presence in Switzerland of several Ukrainian politicians has been announced.

In parallel, andl WEF suspended all its relations with Russia, which had been very present at the event for years. Excluding the Russians was "the right decision"according to the president of the WEF, Borge Brende.

Symbolically, to replace the so-called Russia House (Russia House), a crowded place set up every year in Davos that concentrated all the activity in the country, this year there will be a Russia War Crimes House ("Russian War Crimes House"), an initiative of the Ukrainian government and a patron of the country.

discreet diplomacy
Along with the Ukrainian issue, the forum, which this time brings together some 2,500 political, economic, business and civil society leaders, will also address issues such as climate change, gender inequality or the emergence of the metaverse.

Latin America will be very present, with announced interventions by the presidents of Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic and specific sessions on the region.

The new Peruvian president, the leftist Pedro Castillo, who needed congressional approval to travel to Switzerland, plans to address issues such as post-pandemic economic recovery or the sustainable development of the Amazon.

Along with its official agenda, Davos is known as a diplomatic meeting point. "The quiet diplomacy that (…) the forum allows is one of the things that is really at the heart of the forum, and which Klaus Schwab considers its greatest achievement."Adrienne Sorbom, a sociology professor at Stockholm University and co-author of a book on the WEF, told AFP.

Despite recurring criticism of its usefulness and opulence in a world full of inequalities, the Davos forum continues to attract top political and business leaders

"In this Davos, in this festival of wealth, I think we will see how unequal our world has become.", said Nabil Ahmed of the Oxfam NGO, which campaigns for higher taxes on the wealthy and often attends the forum.


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