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World Economic Forum cancels special annual meeting in Singapore

World Economic Forum cancels special annual meeting in Singapore

File photo of a logo of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting as pictured on a window in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan 21, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

SINGAPORE: The World Economic Forum's (WEF) Special Annual Meeting in Singapore has been cancelled, three months before it was scheduled to take place in August.

Announcing this on Monday (May 17), the WEF cited global uncertainties caused by COVID-19.

"Regretfully, the tragic circumstances unfolding across geographies, an uncertain travel outlook, differing speeds of vaccination rollout and the uncertainty around new variants combine to make it impossible to realise a global meeting with business, government and civil society leaders from all over the world at the scale which was planned," said the WEF.

"This is despite the excellent support provided by the Government of Singapore."

The next annual meeting will take place in the first half of 2022, with the final location and date to be decided "based on an assessment of the situation later this summer", said the WEF.

Singapore was scheduled to host the Special Annual Meeting from Aug 17 to 20, after it was postponed from May due to COVID-19 travel restrictions around the world.

WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab had visited Singapore in February to prepare for the August meeting.

READ: Holding WEF meeting in Singapore will send 'strong signal of confidence' in country's ability: Alvin Tan

On the cancellation of the event, Professor Schwab said: “It was a difficult decision, particularly in view of the great interest of our partners to come together not just virtually but in person, and to contribute to a more resilient, more inclusive and more sustainable world.

“But ultimately the health and safety of everyone concerned is our highest priority.”

In response to media queries, Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said Singapore "fully appreciates the challenges caused by the ongoing global pandemic, particularly for a large meeting with a broad span of international participants".

"We will continue to work actively with the World Economic Forum and other key international organisations to promote collaborations between stakeholders on issues of global concern," said MTI.

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Source: CNA/ic(gs)

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