Davos Forum Begins in Atmosphere of Sanctions, Global Tensions

Thousands of politicians and business leaders will address the biggest economic and political issues as they attend this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, The Financial Times reports.

This week’s gathering is taking place at a time of heightened trade disruptions, shifts in foreign policy and a climate emergency — just to name some of the main challenges facing global leadership. In the words of Davos attendee and the former Prime Minister of Finland, Alexander Stubb, there’s a “new world disorder” that needs to be addressed.

The European Union (EU) has tried to be a mediator between the United States and the Middle East, attempted leadership on climate aims, and despite a more protectionist tone out of the White House, continued to back multilateral trade. However, internal divergences within the 28-member union, including on security policy, has not enabled it to drive the global agenda.

“The U.S. is playing a different power game than what we were used to,” former Finnish prime minister Alexander Stubb told CNBC. “I will be looking very closely to the geopolitics at Davos,” he added.

Russia will be represented by the minister of economic development Maxim Oreshkin. It is planned that he will visit two panels: Social Mobility and Strategic Forecast: Russia. So far, he is the only Russian official who is declared in the program of participation in the forum from our state.

Bloomberg reported this week that Oreshkin will not join the new Russian government and instead be appointed to a new position as President’s Vladimir Putin’s assistant on economic issues.

The main theme at Davos this year seems to be how to make businesses more climate friendly. In a report, released earlier this week, the WEF said severe threats to the climate account for all of the top five long-term risks. The Forum’s organizers also chose sustainable investment as the overarching topic for the five-day event.

″Even before reading what the theme for Davos was this year, I expected sustainability — in its multiple permutations – to be a key theme,” Tim Adams, President and CEO of the Institute of International Finance (IIF), also a participant at Davos 2020, told CNBC Wednesday.

“It is increasingly clear that sustainability-related issues will dominate the global policy agenda. There is an urgency to do something — time is not on our side — and … the financial services industry, has a key role to play in helping to fund the transition to a greener more sustainable future,” Adams told CNBC via email.

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