Christian Dorer & the Blick team at the WEF
I’m taking part in the WEF for the 19th time and I’ve discovered a simple formula: the better the times, the cloudier the content – and the louder the parties. There were the lofty WEFs of the golden years, more modest ones during the Iraq war or the financial crisis.
However, no previous meeting of the global management and business elite in Davos has been as sober as it is presented. Never before have so many crises come together at once: the Ukraine war, globalization crisis, inflation, climate change, an impending famine, the aftermath of Corona, inequality, polarization and so on.
“The world is at a turning point in history,” says WEF founder Klaus Schwab (84) – and he should know: No one in the world has been so close to the course of history and so close to all global ones for more than 50 years decision makers.
There have always been crises. But the red hot ones are heavier, more diverse – and more global.
The political economist Maja Göpel (45) sums up what needs to be done in the large WEF opening interview in the SonntagsBlick: “We have to deal with the conditions under which people can live together safely, well and peacefully.”
It is the right guide for the powerful of this world who meet in Davos – at the most serious WEF in history.
Christian Dorer (47) is Editor-in-Chief of the Blick Group and is looking forward to the most instructive week of the year.
The Blick team on the major challenges of the time
1. The economy is struggling
Since Corona, the fragile supply chains around the world have been strained, sometimes even broken. Because in China, the container ships are damming up, there is a lack of workers during the lockdown to load and unload the ocean liners. The result: the supply of goods and components as well as microchips from Asia is stagnating. This hinders production in Europe and the USA.
The shortage causes prices to rise, also because energy is becoming more and more expensive because of the war in Ukraine. Filling up the tank is a luxury in many countries. The central banks have to raise interest rates in the fight against inflation, the days of cheap money are over. This paralyzes economic growth and plunges the stock markets into misery.
A global recession is imminent. An economic crisis that would also hit Switzerland hard.
2. The earth is burning
Corona and the war pushed the climate crisis out of the headlines. At the same time, half a continent is burning in India, and temperatures are rising to life-threatening levels. Millions of people around the world are already living through what may yet lie ahead.
The time for excuses is over, the exit from Russian oil and gas offers the opportunity to rethink the energy supply. The most important heads of state and government are therefore sending all their climate experts to Davos this year: US Special Envoy John Kerry (78), German Vice Chancellor and Climate Protection Minister Robert Habeck (52), China’s chief climate diplomat Xie Zhenhua (72) .
Europe and Switzerland must set a good example and not point the finger at the big CO2-Sling China, USA and India show. Let’s take the chance, it could be one of the last.
Christian Kolbe (55), business editor, has to explain to his colleagues in the lowlands every year that the WEF is priceless for Switzerland’s global image.
3. Ukraine – all our war
Three months ago, Putin invaded Ukraine. Since then the world has seemed different. Green foreign ministers are procuring weapons, liberal finance ministers are releasing funds – and Switzerland is struggling with its neutrality.
The WEF is dominated by the dramatic change in Europe’s security and defense policy and the global impact of the war on energy and food supplies. Russia itself is unloaded. The Ukrainian delegation is all the more numerous – Selenski virtually, the Klitschko brothers and MPs in person. In Davos they will ensure that the world does not forget their war and ours.
The war will keep us all busy for years to come. And always challenge to negotiate what price we are willing to pay to preserve and defend our western way of life.
Foreign editor Fabienne Kinzelmann (29) is particularly looking forward to an interview with the new US ambassador to Switzerland.
4. The world is starving
The UN estimates that 276 million people were suffering from acute hunger even before the Ukraine war broke out. The number has risen in recent years – and the war is now threatening to worsen the hunger crisis dramatically.
Because 12 out of 100 calories that are consumed daily have so far been produced in the Ukraine or Russia. Exports that are now failing. According to the UN, the number of starving people could increase by almost 50 million because of the war.
But the consequences can also be clearly felt here and in our neighboring countries – in the form of empty shelves and steep price increases. This strengthens the awareness of the problem among the economic and political elite, who meet in Davos. Which is why this crisis will also be an important topic at the WEF.
Political journalist Lea Hartmann (31) is hot on the heels of the Federal Councilors in Davos.
5. Global inequality is increasing
2022 preaches progress. But lives backwards.
Tens of thousands are taking to the streets in America these days to demonstrate for abortion rights. Soldiers rape women in Ukraine. And according to the latest WEF Gender Report, it will now take another 136 years to close the equality gap. Gender inequality is one of the greatest obstacles to sustainable development, economic growth and poverty reduction.
In Davos, among other things, Ringier’s EqualVoice initiative will focus on the issue of gender equality. The WEF itself has four panels on global inequality in its program. Prosperity, education or access to vaccines should no longer depend on where someone was born, what skin color – or what gender.
Blick TV reporter Matthias Kempf (36) will interview many exciting personalities in front of the camera in the streets of Davos.
6. Corona is not over yet
The pandemic sets the pace, not us humans. The WEF had to realize this again in January and therefore postponed the annual meeting to May. During this time, the situation has brightened: thanks to vaccines, western countries have gotten Corona under control.
It looks different globally. In low-income countries, only 16 percent of people have received a single dose of the vaccine — compared to 80 percent in high-income countries. New variants and corona waves could therefore keep us busy for years to come.
That is why there is also a discussion in Davos: “What’s next” in terms of the pandemic? How to ensure vaccine supplies for poorer countries? And what does the new, better world of work look like after years of working from home?
Nicola Imfeld (26) is a business editor and is experiencing the WEF for the first time as a journalist rather than a soldier in the Swiss army.