World Economic Forum 2015: What's on the agenda?

Global leaders and top business and civil society representatives are expected to converge at this year's Davos meeting, which will take place this week from Jan 21 to Jan 24. Here are some things to know about the summit:

What is the Davos meeting all about?

It is an annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) - an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation - in Davos, Switzerland.

The theme this year is The New Global Context, referring to 10 global challenges that the world faces today:

* environment and resource scarcity

* employment skills and human capital

* food security and agriculture

* international trade and investment

* future of the Internet

* global crime and anti-corruption

* social inclusion

* future of financial systems

* current affairs

* new energy context

There will be a total of over 280 sessions, 100 of which will be telecast 'live' on the Internet.

What are some of the issues expected to be discussed?

1. The threat to stability posed by young extremists returning to Europe after fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in the Middle East should be high on the agenda. At Davos, the topic will be examined with renewed urgency on a global level, with Iraqi, Kurdish and African leaders set to call for international support to beat back the militants.

2. Wealth inequality is also expected to be one of the biggest issues, as a brief released by Oxfam on Monday reported that the richest 1 per cent of people in the world will have a majority of the wealth on the planet next year, meaning billionaires and politicians will come under pressure to tackle the issue, perhaps by the redistribution of wealth to developing nations. Oxfam, which has been invited to the forum, said it was calling on governments to adopt a plan which includes clamping down on tax dodgers, investing in free public services like health and education, sharing tax burden fairly, introducing minimum wages and promoting economic policies to give women a fair deal.

3. The various world crises are also expected to be hot topics:

a. climate change will be one of them, as 2014 was identified as the warmest on record, discussion will focus on how to achieve a comprehensive climate deal.

b. Combating the spread of virus amid the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa will be another one, as talks may revolve around how to better provide aid to affected countries and move forward.

c. The armed conflict in Ukraine's eastern industrial heartland should be on participants' minds as well, with regards to its economic impact and possible resolution.

4. Participants will also discuss growth and monetary policies amid the mixed results of central bank policies incentivising the growth and employment in many parts of the world. Business leaders will also be concerned over falling oil prices and the future of Greece in the euro zone.

Who is attending the meeting?

Some 2,500 prominent figures are expected, including more than 40 heads of state and government such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, South African President Jacob Zuma, United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The rest of the participants will be mostly made up of more than 1,500 business leaders and representatives from international organisations and civil society, religious leaders, cultural leaders, academia and the media, for example World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, Mr Bill Gates and his wife Melinda from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google chairman Eric Schmidt, Alibaba chairman Jack Ma and former US vice-president Al Gore, now a climate change campaigner.

Sources:, Agence France-Presse, Reuters, The Guardian, New York Times, Bloomberg

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