File: A man walks past a sign of the World Economic Forum (WEF) ahead of the WEF annual meeting at the Congress Centre in Davos. AFP/Fabrice Coffrini
GENEVA - The World Economic Forum announced it will gather the global political and business elite in Davos, Switzerland next January, after repeatedly shifting, then cancelling its 2021 meeting due to the pandemic.
The WEF said its annual gathering would return to the luxury ski resort in the Swiss Alps two years after it was last held there, under the theme "Working Together, Restoring Trust."
The meeting, set to take place from January 17-21, will be the "first global leadership event to set the agenda for a sustainable recovery," the Geneva-based organisation said in a statement.
The decision to return to an in-person gathering comes after a difficult year for WEF, which hosted a small virtual meeting last January but repeatedly postponed and shifted around the venue for the physical meeting, including plans to hold it in Singapore, before cancelling it altogether.
The WEF stressed the importance of bringing together leaders to discuss a way forward from the Covid-19 crisis.
"The pandemic has brought far-reaching changes. In a world full of uncertainty and tension, personal dialogue is more important than ever," WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said in the statement.
Pointing to how the crisis has "exacerbated fractures across society," the organisers insisted on the need for leaders to meet face-to-face and create partnerships and policies.
"The meeting will bring together forward-thinking leaders to drive multi-stakeholder collaboration and address the world's most pressing economic, political and societal challenges," the statement said.
As the pandemic continues to rage, the organisers emphasised that "the well-being of participants, staff, service providers and hosts is a priority."
They said that they were working closely with the Swiss authorities and with national and international health experts and organisations to put in place measures that are "appropriate and adapted to the context."