As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unravel in various parts of the country, the World Economic Forum on Monday announced the cancellation of its high-profile annual meeting for 2021 after postponing it at least twice along with two changes in venue.
The next annual meeting will now take place in the first half of 2022, while the location and date would be determined after assessing the situation later this summer, said the Geneva-based organisation that has been hosting a yearly congregation of the rich and powerful from across the world in Swiss ski resort town of Davos for 50 years.
This year's Davos summit was originally scheduled for January 2021, but was later moved to a different location in Switzerland, Lucerne, and then to Singapore with an August 2021 schedule.
The last time the meeting was held outside Davos was in 2002 when it was held in New York City.
At the time of its annual schedule this January, an online meeting was hosted by the WEF, which describes itself as an international organisation for public-private cooperation.
It was attended by a large number of global leaders, just like its physical annual meetings every year.
In an advisory, the WEF said it has been preparing a Special Annual Meeting in Singapore to take place just three months from now.
"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.
"This is despite the excellent support provided by the Government of Singapore," it added.
"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,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEFG.
"But ultimately the health and safety of everyone concerned is our highest priority," he added.
The WEF said it will continue to engage its increasing number of partners into our numerous work streams addressing the key issues on the global agenda through public-private cooperation.
Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters