Davos 2023: What you need to know about the WEF on Wednesday

The focus on Wednesday was on climate change, Greta Thunberg’s imminent arrival, and the war in Ukraine, with President Zelenskyy asking on a video link for faster supplies of tanks and air defence units

January 19, 2023 03:41 am | Updated 03:47 am IST - New Delhi

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine talks from a video screen to participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is taking place in Davos from Jan. 16 until Jan. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine talks from a video screen to participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum is taking place in Davos from Jan. 16 until Jan. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) | Photo Credit: Markus Schreiber

Climate change came to the fore at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting, where U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on business leaders to follow the principles outlined by an expert group to make credible net-zero pledges or risk greenwashing.

The United Nations and standard setter the International Organization for Standardization launched the guidelines in November to become a reference text and help organizations come up with solid plans, avoiding slogans, hype and obfuscation.

With activist Greta Thunberg set to arrive in Davos and meet International Energy Agency (IEA) executive director Fatih Birol on Thursday, climate change is set to remain centre stage.

The other focus on Wednesday was Ukraine, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy telling WEF delegates by video link that Western supplies of tanks and air defence units should come more quickly and be delivered faster than Russia was able to carry out its own attacks.

Zelenskyy was speaking before Western allies meet at the Ramstein air base in Germany on Friday with the focus on whether Berlin will allow its Leopard battle tanks to be supplied to Kyiv to help drive out Russian forces.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chinese vice-premier Liu He shake hands ahead of their meeting on the sideline of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 18, 2023.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Chinese vice-premier Liu He shake hands ahead of their meeting on the sideline of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 18, 2023. | Photo Credit: AFP

After China's Vice-Premier Liu He on Tuesday welcomed foreign investment and declared his country open to the world after three years of pandemic isolation, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath hailed it as a positive sign.

China could see a sharp recovery in economic growth from the second quarter onwards based on current infection trends after the dismantling of most COVID-19 restrictions, Gopinath said.

"Looking at the infection trends, and if those persist, we could see a very quick recovery starting from after the first quarter of this year," she said of a current surge in infections seen as an "exit wave" linked to the economic reopening.

And coronavirus was also the focus for Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel who said the U.S. company was in active discussions to supply COVID-19 vaccines to China, adding that talks with Beijing also covered the topic of factories and other products including cancer treatments.

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