Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg (centre) gives US President Donald Trump (left) a 'death stare' at the UN in 2019. Picture: REUTERS/ANDREW HOFSTETTER
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg (centre) gives US President Donald Trump (left) a 'death stare' at the UN in 2019. Picture: REUTERS/ANDREW HOFSTETTER

Geneva — US President Donald Trump will be the star attraction at this year’s Davos forum, which will also focus on the fallout of climate change and a more inclusive model of capitalism, organisers said on Tuesday.

The annual gathering of global movers and shakers in the village of Davos in the Swiss Alps will draw a total of 53 heads of government and state for four days starting on January 21.

The 50th edition will have more than 2,800 participants, including teenage eco-warrior Greta Thunberg, who will renew her call on participants to stop subsidising fossil fuels. “We demand that leaders play their part in putting an end to this madness,” the 17-year-old, who is also due to take part in protests outside the summit, wrote in The Guardian.

The World Economic Forum (WEF), which organises the summit, said other participants this year will include Chinese vice-premier Han Zheng, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Trump will be accompanied by his daughter Ivanka and her husband and top presidential adviser Jared Kushner. A high-level US economic team will include treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and trade representative Robert Lighthizer.

Zarif not coming 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is busy finalising Britain’s departure from the EU at the end of this month, will not attend. But Prince Charles, who has been involved in trying to mend relations within the royal family over his son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s shock decision to give up on high-profile royal duties, will be there.

Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, who had been due to attend Davos according to a preliminary guest list, is no longer expected to attend, according to the latest list.

The summit comes amid renewed global tensions following a US drone strike on January 3 that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad international airport.

Iran has also been shaken by demonstrations after admitting it “unintentionally” shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet a few hours after a retaliatory missile strike against US bases in Iraq.

‘State of emergency’

The meeting’s theme this year is “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World” and will place an emphasis on a more inclusive model of capitalism.

“The world is in a state of emergency and the window to act is closing fast,” Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chair at the WEF, told reporters. Schwab called for participants to agree a “Davos manifesto” for a new type of stakeholder capitalism.

After some criticism last year over the number of private jets ferrying political and business leaders to the summit, organisers are also keen to show off the meeting’s environmental credentials. For the first time, this year solar panels and geo-thermal heating have been introduced in the congress centre and there will be a temporary railway station to encourage participants to use public transport.

Ahead of the meeting, the Swiss army has started being deployed in the area around Davos under a security plan that will involve up to 5,000 soldiers. Swiss broadcaster SRF estimated the costs of policing the summit at 45-million Swiss francs.


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