Live updates | World Economic Forum gathering in Davos

Jan 18, 2023, 2:37 AM | Updated: 6:49 pm

President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Jr. arrives at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Swi...

President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos Jr. arrives 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)

(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The Latest on the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland:

Colombia President Gustavo Petro described U.S.-led efforts to fight drug trafficking as “an absolute failure” during a panel with Latin American political leaders at the World Economic Forum gathering.

Speaking Wednesday in Davos, Switzerland, Petro called for strategies to reduce consumption that focus on education, prevention and treatment for those with addiction.

He says that “thousands of people, most of them Black, have gone to prison in the United States, and up to a million have died in Latin America.”

He added that “if we cannot have a debate on the United States failed drug policy, we will have serious problems.”

Petro’s administration is trying to make peace deals with rebel groups within Colombia and other criminal organizations involved in the drug trade.

He said global changes in drug policy will be required to pacify Colombia as well as policies that bring economic development to isolated regions within the South American nation, where many people make a living from the drug trade.



— Zelenskyy urges West to speed up flow of weapons to Ukraine

— Putin foe Bill Browder slams jacked-up fee to attend Davos

— World Food Program postpones, not averts Somali famine

— Elon Musk apparently wasn’t on the Davos guest list

Follow AP’s coverage of the World Economic Forum meeting at https://apnews.com/hub/world-economic-forum


Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has received an honorary “Citizen of Kyiv” medal from Mayor Vitali Klitschko on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Johnson has been hailed as a hero by many Ukrainians for his and Britain’s support for their country after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered forces to invade Ukraine nearly a year ago.

At the Ukraine House on Wednesday, Klitschko said Johnson is “one of us” before draping the medal around the former British leader’s neck.

Johnson said he’d received an invitation to visit Kyiv — a “beautiful, beautiful city” — from Klitschko and traveled there while Britain’s foreign minister.

“I realized then that if Putin was ever so mad as to invade Ukraine, that Ukrainians would fight and that they would win. And that is what is going to happen,” Johnson said to a cheering crowd.

He added that the only thing that allies “have got to do now is to continue our support for Ukraine with tanks, with planes, with whatever it takes, with financial resources until Ukraine wins.”


Bill Browder, a leading critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has criticized the World Economic Forum on social media for jacking up his entrance fee to the annual meeting in Davos that he has attended for the last 27 years.

Browder told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it was wasteful to pay a quarter of a million dollars for a ticket and he thought organizers of the elite gathering in the Swiss Alps didn’t want him around.

The former fund manager says he has set aside his commercial activities and devotes all of his time to getting justice for his former lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was killed in Russian police custody in 2009, and other victims of human rights abuses.

Forum spokesman Yann Zopf says Browder had participated previously as CEO of Hermitage Capital Management and that he was “very welcome to re-engage with the Forum’s work.”

Zopf said told the AP that “partnerships with businesses contribute to our ability to invite activists and civil society figures who tend to have considerably less resources.”


NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says Ukraine’s Western backers this week will discuss ways to supply heavier and more advanced weapons to help it fight Russia.

The so-called Ukraine Contact Group will gather at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Thursday and Friday. It consists of about 50 top defense officials, including U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who work to coordinate military contributions to Ukraine.

Stoltenberg said Wednesday during a session at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, that “the main message there will be: more support, more advanced support, heavier weapons and more modern weapons.”

He says, “This is a fight for our values, this is a fight for democracy and we just have to prove that democracy wins over tyranny and oppression.”

NATO’s leader says supplying Ukraine with more equipment long term will help force Russian President Vladimir Putin to the negotiating table.

Stoltenberg warned that “it is very dangerous to underestimate Russia” and said “weapons — they are the way to peace” but must come quickly.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Western supplies of weapons must outpace Russia’s attacks and urged the world to move faster in its decision-making because “tragedies are outpacing life; the tyranny is outpacing democracy.”

In a video address Wednesday to the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, Zelenskyy stood and asked for a moment of silence for victims of a helicopter crash in Ukraine, who included his interior minister.

While a cause is not yet known, he said that “every individual, every death is a result of war.”

He says that the world needs to react quicker to challenges like global security, climate change and hunger, saying there’s a “time crisis.” He says that Russia started the war, and the world needed days to react with the first sanctions, with “the time the free world uses to think is used by the terrorist state to kill.”

He said the world must not hesitate: “The supplying of Ukraine with air defense systems must outpace Russia’s vast missile attacks. The supplies of Western tanks must outpace another invasion of Russian tanks.”

Asked about engaging with Russia, Zelenskyy said “they will have to recognize their own mistakes, they will have to recognize Ukrainian statutes and they will have to really respect our territorial integrity.”


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz highlighted his country’s and others’ financial and military support to Ukraine and said that “we will continue to support Ukraine — for as long as necessary.”

In a speech Wednesday to the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, he pointed to efforts by Berlin and others to kick off a long-term rebuilding process for Ukraine but said that “in order for the war to end, Russia’s aggression must fail.”

He listed some of the equipment Germany has pledged to provide — including air-defense systems and most recently armored personnel carriers, “marking a profound turning point in German foreign and security policy.”

But he didn’t make any new pledges. Germany faces mounting pressure to supply Leopard 2 battle tanks or at least to authorize allies to deliver their own stocks of the German-made vehicles.

When asked about sending tanks to Ukraine, Scholz reiterated that Germany was one of the top suppliers of military equipment to the war-torn country, just behind the U.S. and Britain.


France’s junior minister for European Affairs says Europe has lost competitiveness versus the U.S. due to sharply higher energy costs and U.S. support for domestic renewables.

Laurence Boone said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, that Europe needs a “big bang” to catch up in moving to renewable and secure energy supplies. She added that the bloc needs “to be a lot more radical and proactive in response to this challenge.”

Boone said on a panel about European energy that higher prices after Russia shut off most natural gas over the war in Ukraine, along with the Inflation Reduction Act, were “a wake-up call” for the European Union.

She said the IRA could have an effect in just two or three months because it works through tax credits, while European measures can take years to go through.

European industries that use a lot of energy — such as makers of glass, steel and fertilizer — are facing costs that make production unprofitable in some cases and are raising the possibility that such producers will move to places where energy is more affordable such as the U.S. and China.

Boone said a Europe-wide approach was needed instead of financially stronger countries handing out state aid because the continent’s economy was so interconnected.

She says that “it’s not enough to increase state aid in one country if we don’t do it for everyone, otherwise we will have disruption of supply chains.”


Young climate activists including Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate will discuss speeding up the energy transition with the head of the International Energy Agency at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland.

The Paris-based IEA says Executive Director Fatih Birol and the young activists will discuss Thursday whether governments and businesses are responding adequately to the climate crisis, the state of the clean energy transition, widespread calls to end new investments in fossil fuels, and what needs to be done to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It comes after Thunberg and other protesters were carried awa y Tuesday from the edge of an open coal pit mine in western Germany where they demonstrated against the destruction of a village to make way for the mine’s expansion.

The German government reached a deal with energy company RWE last year allowing it to destroy the village in return for ending coal use by 2030, rather than 2038. Environmentalists say bulldozing Luetzerath will result in vast greenhouse gas emissions.

Thunberg told The Associated Press on Saturday that in the global fight against climate change, “what everyone does matters.”

The Swedish activist added that “and if one of the largest polluters, like Germany, and one of the biggest historical emitters of CO2 is doing something like this, then of course it affects more or less everyone — especially those most bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.”


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is celebrating his country’s newfound independence from Russian energy sources and says its energy supply for this winter is secure.

In a speech Wednesday to the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, Scholz noted that Germany has opened its first two liquefied gas terminals within months and a third is close to completion. He said that shows “Germany can be flexible, we can be unbureaucratic, and we can be fast.”

Russia, which once supplied more than half of Germany’s natural gas, hasn’t delivered any since the end of August. Scholz said that “within a few months, Germany made itself completely independent from Russian gas, Russian oil and Russian coal.”

Scholz says “our energy supply for this winter is secure — thanks to well-filled storage facilities, thanks to improved energy efficiency, thanks to remarkable solidarity within Europe, and thanks to the readiness of our companies and of millions of citizens to save energy.”

The German leader also defended Berlin’s program of to 200 billion euros ($216 billion) in subsidies to ease the strain of high gas, electricity and heating prices, which has met with some concern elsewhere in Europe.

He said it “is both forceful and proportionate.”


Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has slammed the influence of oil and gas interests at the annual U.N. climate conference.

In impassioned remarks at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, Gore called for the COP climate talks to make supermajority decisions rather than requiring unanimous agreement as oil-rich states frustrate the process.

Gore said Wednesday during a session on climate action leadership that “we cannot let the oil companies and gas companies and petrostates tell us what is permissible. In the last COP, we were not allowed to even discuss scaling down oil and gas.”

He expressed concerns of the “appearance of the conflict of interest” of having the head of oil company Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. — Sultan al-Jaber — as the next COP president.

Gore asked: “Are we going to be able to discuss scaling down oil and gas in the next COP or (are we) putting the oil industry in charge of the COP?”

He asserted that “we’ve just decided to not even disguise” fossil fuel presence at COP anymore.

Gore added that fossil fuel industries were also responsible for stifling pro-climate legislation in the U.S. and elsewhere. But he noted some instances of positive climate action around the world in the last year, including the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act and elections in Brazil and Australia that ushered in governments with stronger climate ambitions.


Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska says in many areas of the war-torn country, people are only getting a few hours of electricity a day and those near the front are completely cut off from energy infrastructure.

She said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, that her foundation is working to provide warmth and light to people who are often living in half-destroyed homes in areas occupied by Russian forces.

Russian missiles have targeted energy systems for months, and Zelenska also says “our enemy has been destroying our health care infrastructure.”

She says the foundation is working to rebuild medical facilities and provide laptops to teachers, with two-thirds of Ukraine’s children studying remotely as schools face shelling.

After a helicopter crash in Ukraine killed the country’s interior minister and several others, Zelenska said she didn’t “have the strength to express my emotions right now.”

When asked about whether there is global fatigue in supporting Ukraine nearly a year into the war, she said that “seems like an exaggeration.”

She added: “Imagine what this day will be like when the Ukrainians are fatigued. I wouldn’t want to see it. I don’t think it would be good for Ukraine or the world.”


The head of the United Nations isn’t optimistic that Russia’s war in Ukraine could end soon.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, that “I do not see the end of the war in the immediate future.”

He pointed to deep historical differences between Russia and Ukraine that will make it more difficult to find a solution based on international law and that respects territorial integrity.

Guterres added that “I don’t think that we have a chance to promote or to mediate a serious negotiation to achieve peace in the short term.”

In the meantime, he said private-sector cooperation is needed to keep Ukrainian and Russian food and fertilizer exports flowing.

Both countries are major suppliers of wheat, barley and other food to developing nations where many people are struggling with hunger. A U.N.-brokered deal allows agricultural supplies — Russia is also a top global exporter of fertilizer — to leave the Black Sea region.

Guterres says the insurance sector has helped support the movement of vessels from Ukraine and Russia, and “we need other private sector’s actors to engage, such as the banking sector, the traders and the shippers.”

Some companies fear running afoul of Western sanctions by facilitating shipments from Russia, though allies have said penalties don’t apply to food and fertilizer.


The Dutch environment minister says the Netherlands wants “to sell 2 million electric cars by 2030 — from 2030 onwards only electric cars allowed.”

Vivianne Heijnen spoke Wednesday during a panel session about “the electric decade” at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland.

The forum says that by 2030, clean power capacity must increase by three times what it is today and by nine times by 2050. The organization also has found that energy consumption must be increasingly based on electricity and should increase to 50% by 2050 from 20% now.

Heijnen says the Netherlands has one charging station for every four cars. She says “we are thinking of smart solutions” to “some challenges when it comes to the entire power system.”

Talking about the challenges to achieving these clean energy and electrification goals, Jakob Stausholm, CEO of mining corporation Rio Tinto Plc said, “It’s not that easy to get green energy at scale. We are fooling ourselves on the timeline — it is going to take time.”


The head of the United Nations says the world is in a “sorry state” because of myriad “interlinked” challenges including climate change and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, that the struggles are “piling up like cars in a chain reaction crash.”

Guterres said the widest levels of geopolitical division and mistrust in generations are undermining efforts to tackle global problems, which also include widening inequality, a cost-of-living crisis sparked by soaring inflation and an energy crunch, lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and more.

He singled out climate change as an “existential challenge,” saying a global commitment to limit the Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius “is nearly going up in smoke.”

Guterres referenced a recent study that found scientists at Exxon Mobil made remarkably accurate predictions about the effects of climate change as far back as the 1970s, even as the company publicly doubted that warming was real.

He said, “Some in Big Oil peddled the big lie.”


Japan’s minister of trade and industry says the world’s third-largest economy needs more innovation and younger leadership.

Minister of Economy Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura said, “Japan’s economy has long been run by a bunch of old men.”

Speaking in a panel Wednesday at the World Economic Forum’s gathering in Davos, Switzerland, he said, “We need to change this drastically, because we need diverse ideas to bring about innovation in the new era. You shouldn’t make decisions with only old men who have spent a long time in the same company.”

Despite trade tensions between Beijing and Washington and other trading partners, Nishimura said it’s unrealistic to cut off economic ties with China, so “a complete decoupling is not possible, but we need to manage the risks and cooperate with like-minded nations.”


Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska dabbed teary eyes before attending a World Economic Forum session in Davos, Switzerland, as she heard the news that a helicopter carrying Ukraine’s interior minister and other officials crashed in Ukraine.

Forum President Borge Brende requested 15 seconds of silence Wednesday to honor the 18 people killed in the crash, including Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi and other officials, before the opening the session.

Zelenska said it was “another very sad day today. New losses.”

She told those attending the session: “I think you understand my emotions. Perhaps they’re a little bit out of place in the political and economic dialogue, but I am sure that just as the war has changed the whole world, it has also changed all of our dialogue. We can also change this negative situation for the better.”

Her husband, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is scheduled to speak via video later in the day as the Ukrainian delegation pushes for more weapons from international allies.

Speaking shortly before Zelenskyy is German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is facing pressure to send tanks to Ukraine.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Live updates | World Economic Forum gathering in Davos