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Singapore to hold World Economic Forum in May 2021 — first time it’s held in Asia

ZURICH (Switzerland) — The World Economic Forum (WEF) will be held in Singapore instead of Switzerland next year as the Covid-19 pandemic would make it difficult to ensure the health and safety of participants in Europe, WEF president Borge Brende said in an email on Monday (Dec 7).

Singapore to hold World Economic Forum in May 2021 — first time it’s held in Asia

A logo of the World Economic Forum is pictured during a session in Davos, Switzerland on Jan 22, 2020.

ZURICH (Switzerland) — The World Economic Forum (WEF) will be held in Singapore instead of Switzerland next year as the Covid-19 pandemic would make it difficult to ensure the health and safety of participants in Europe, WEF president Borge Brende said in an email on Monday (Dec 7).

"The managing board took a very important decision today to move the Special Annual Meeting 2021 to Singapore (May 13-16)," Mr Brende said in the email obtained by Reuters.

"We had foreseen to organise our Annual Meeting 2021 in Lucerne-Burgenstock this spring. Unfortunately, the current Covid-19 situation in Europe makes it unlikely that we would be able to create the necessary conditions to ensure the health and safety of our staff, participants and the broader community," Mr Brende said.

"Singapore has been successful in dealing with the pandemic," he said.

He said partners would be informed later on Monday and a press release would be sent out on Tuesday.

WEF said in a statement that the meeting in Singapore will be the first global leadership event to address worldwide recovery from the pandemic.

“A global leadership summit is of crucial importance to address how we can recover together,” said WEF founder Klaus Schwab.

“The Special Annual Meeting 2021 will be a place for leaders from business, government and civil society to meet in person for the first time since the start of the global pandemic.

Confirming the decision soon after the Reuters report, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said that this is the second time the WEF Special Annual Meeting will be held outside of Switzerland since its establishment in 1971, and the first time it will be held in Asia.

The only time it has taken place outside of Davos was in 2002, when it was held in New York in a bid to show solidarity with the United States and the people of the city after the Sept 11 terror attacks.

"WEF’s decision to hold its Special Annual Meeting in Singapore reflects its confidence in our management of the Covid-19 pandemic thus far," MTI said.

"The hosting of WEF’s Special Annual Meeting will have a positive impact on Singapore’s Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) sector and adjacent sectors such as hospitality."

MTI said that Singapore has successfully prototyped new protocols at large-scale meetings and conferences such as the Singapore International Energy Week 2020 and TravelRevive 2020.

"These protocols include safe management measures such as on-arrival tests, pre-event and periodic antigen testing, as well as contact tracing of attendees," MTI said.

"All international conferences held in Singapore will similarly adhere to strict public health and safety measures."

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said that WEF’s decision to hold the meeting in Singapore is an "affirmation of Singapore’s ability to provide a safe, neutral and conducive venue" for global leaders to meet.

"Despite the ongoing pandemic, we are confident that Singapore will be able to continue maintaining public health and safety while supporting the WEF’s mission to effect positive change through collaboration and engagement,” he added.

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Covid-19 coronavirus World Economic Forum

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