Xi, Modi among leaders set to address virtual Davos summit

Asia's top heads of state are set to share their visions for the coming year at the annual Davos Agenda meet, which will be held virtually again due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will take place from Jan 17 to 22 on the World Economic Forum's (WEF) website and social media channels.

Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday became the latest leader to confirm his participation.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indonesian President Joko Widodo will also address the meeting. Other leaders joining the meet include United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Together with business leaders, experts and policymakers, they will discuss critical challenges facing the world and ways to address them.

The WEF's Global Risks Report 2022, released earlier this week, identified climate action failure, extreme weather and biodiversity loss as the top three most severe risks for the world in the next decade.

Long-term risks facing the world outweigh those posed by the pandemic, which is in its third year, with the Omicron variant causing significant increases in the number of infections.

US President Joe Biden's climate envoy, Mr John Kerry, will join Microsoft founder Bill Gates and WEF president Borge Brende for a discussion on accelerating and scaling up climate innovation.

World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US' National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Mr Biden's top adviser for Covid-19, will lead discussions on pandemic recovery.

The salience of the issue continues to increase with massive spending by governments failing to prevent millions from sliding back into poverty and millions losing their livelihoods.

"Covid-19 set us back - bringing the first rise in extreme poverty in a generation," the WEF noted in a statement. "Vaccine inequality and inflation... threaten to widen the gaps even more."

•The full programme of the Davos event can be found at https://www.weforum.org/events/ the-davos-agenda-2022/programme

Find out more about climate change and how it could affect you on the ST microsite here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2022, with the headline Xi, Modi among leaders set to address virtual Davos summit. Subscribe