The next World Economic Forum (WEF) Special Annual Meeting is being moved to Singapore, given the COVID-19 situation in Europe. The global summit, which brings top leaders in politics, business and academia together, will be held between 13 and 16 May, next year.

This is only the second time in history that the annual meeting is being moved from the Davos ski resort in Switzerland, after the 2002 forum was held in New York as a show of support to the US after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The 2021 forum will also mark the first time the meeting will take place in Asia.

Revealing that the change was made to safeguard health and safety, WEF said on Monday (7 Dec): “In light of the current situation with regards to Covid-19 cases, it was decided that Singapore was best placed to hold the meeting.”

WEF founder Klaus Schwab added that the meeting would be crucial to address global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic which has taken a huge health and economic toll worldwide. He said, “Public-private co-operation is needed more than ever to rebuild trust and address the fault lines that emerged in 2020.”

The Singapore Government said on Monday that WEF’s decision to hold its Special Annual Meeting in Singapore “reflects its confidence in our management of the COVID-19 pandemic thus far.” It added that the forum will have a positive impact on Singapore’s MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) sector and adjacent sectors such as hospitality.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing called WEF’s decision an “affirmation of Singapore’s ability to provide a safe, neutral and conducive venue for global leaders to meet.” He said:

“As the world battles COVID-19, there is an even greater impetus for countries to cooperate, collaborate, and partner each other to address pressing global issues. The WEF Special Annual Meeting is a key platform for such conversations to take place.
“WEF’s decision to hold its 2021 Special Annual 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.”

Singapore has assured observers that its foremost priority is to safeguard the health and safety of both our local community and event attendees will be our foremost priority. The Ministry for Trade and Industry stated:

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