Government reduces WEF security budget amid criticism

Switzerland usually deploys around 5,000 security personnel for the WEF annual meeting in Davos. © Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

The World Economic Forum Foundation has decided to assume more of the security costs for its annual event in the Alpine resort town of Davos.

This content was published on February 24, 2021 - 17:46

Following criticism from politicians and civil society groups, the Swiss government confirmed it will reduce contributions for additional security from CHF3.65 million ($4.02 million) to CHF2.55 million for the annual meetings held in Davos for the next three years starting in 2022.

As a result of the pandemic, the WEF has decided to hold this year's edition, that usually takes place in January, this summer in Singapore.

For the federal government, the WEF remains an “important platform for the Swiss authorities” to represent concerns to foreign partners from business and politics, said the Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport (VBS). It also reinforces Switzerland as a host of major global events.

For these reasons, the government considers the WEF annual meeting an “extraordinary event”. It brings together around 3,000 people including high-level dignitaries, CEOs, and spiritual leaders.

To guarantee ground and air security during the annual meeting, the defence ministry may deploy up to 5,000 of its staff, costing around CHF32 million, which comes from the regular defence budget. Much of the support is provided via Swiss soldiers or pilots doing their regular military service training.

Additional security expenditures for the Davos event are fixed at CHF9 million shared between the government, canton, Davos resort and the WEF Foundation. According to the government statement today, the WEF Foundation will take on more of these additional security costs.

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