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International conflict set to dominate World Economic Forum in Davos

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By Euronews
International conflict set to dominate World Economic Forum in Davos

This time of year traditionally sees the Swiss mountains echo to pronouncements about the global economy’s major challenges as political leaders and industry chiefs gather for the World Economic Forum.

But this year, as euronews correspondent Sarah Chappell reports from Davos, escalating geopolitical tensions are expected to dominate.

“After years of focusing on the fallout from the global financial crisis, this time Davos aims to address the new challenges that have emerged. Topping the agenda, the increasing risk of international conflict – and its possible effects on the global economy,” she said.

In its 2015 Global Risks report published last week, the World Economic Forum highlighted geopolitical and societal risks, interstate conflict, and estimated that experts rated environmental risks more prominently than economic ones.

In particular the Forum is warning of the threat of major conflict between world powers for the first time in a quarter of a century.

“Nobody is really in charge of advancing a solution to any of these conflicts. There’s a big downside and we’re not seeing any upside – and that has changed significantly. That’s something that we may have to live with now, 25 years after the end of the Cold War – the fact that it is very multi-polar, it is very complex and there is really no end state, no endgame that is clearly apparent,” said Lee Howell, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum.

Rising inequality, Ebola, climate change and new technologies will also all be on the agenda.

This month’s terrorist attacks in Paris are casting an inevitable shadow over the event.

Security is tight, but that is not keeping people away – the Forum says it is expecting its highest-ever level of attendance this year.