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Papers sceptical about Economic Forum pledges

The Swiss press found a lot of hot air in chilly Davos swissinfo.ch

The majority of Swiss newspapers are sceptical about the promises made at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to combat climate change.

This content was published on January 29, 2007 - 08:17

But not all editorials were negative about the results of the five-day event in Davos.

Winter arrived just in time for the start of the WEF, said the Tages-Anzeiger.

The Zurich-based newspaper said the late start to the season was not lost on the participants since climate change was not only one of the main themes of the annual meeting, but was a topic of discussion among the scientists, politicians and business leaders.

"It became obvious in Davos that there are no easy answers to climate change," added the Tages Anzeiger.

"If there is something the WEF isn't, it's average, wrote the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) newspaper in its editorial.

"Everything about this event is outstanding: the power and wealth of the participants, the ambition of the organisers, the security, the technical perfection, the press coverage or the development over time to what has become a $100 million business."

However, the NZZ said that while a lot is said in Davos about doing something for the world's poorest, little action is taken to improve the lot of the middle class in the business leaders' own countries.

Without the support of the middle class, the NZZ concluded, every attempt to introduce effective measures or reforms will fail.

No new strategies

The Bern newspaper, Der Bund, agreed that global warming had set the tone for this year's WEF. However, it said, the prominent participants failed to work out any revolutionary new strategies to combat the problem.

Die Südostschweiz was of a different opinion. "A good atmosphere, constructive dialogue and a few solutions offered to solve some of the world's biggest problems marked the 2007 edition of the WEF, making it one of the most successful in recent years."

The newspaper for southeastern Switzerland, where Davos is located, said it was "striking how prepared entrepreneurs were to look beyond their own companies and take on larger responsibilities".

It said managers' new-found will to work for change may be the result of the massive anti-WEF protests of the past.

"The optimism in Davos was only window-dressing" claimed the Geneva-based Le Temps.

There was, according to Le Temps, a lot of talk about restarting the Doha round of global trade talks and climate change, but this was, to a large extent, "hot air".

However, the newspaper said, Davos continues to play a role.

swissinfo

Key facts

The 2007 WEF summit took place from January 24 to 28.
There were some 2,400 participants, including 24 heads of states, 85 ministers and top business leaders, and more than 400 researchers and representatives of civil society.
The WEF and non-governmental organisations organised a sideline event called Open Forum Davos.
At the same time critics of globalisation staged an event called the Public Eye on Davos.

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