World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019

The authorities of the Canton of Graubünden, Davos and the Confederation will be providing continuous and objective information on their policy regarding the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018 in Davos. The following information about the WEF Annual Meeting comes from the various agencies and authorities concerned.

World Economic Forum (KEYSTONE/Laurent Gillieron, 27.01.2011)

1.    General information

Between 22 and 25 January, around 3,000 people from the fields of business, politics, research and culture from around 90 countries will travel to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019. The event in Davos will be covered by some 500 journalists reporting for domestic and foreign news outlets.

For more information about the theme and programme of the WEF Annual Meeting go to http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_AM19_Meeting_Overview.pdf  (English)

2.   Importance

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is one of the most important economic and socio-political events in the world. Each year, countless influential politicians, business leaders and scientists from many countries around the world come to Davos. For about a week Davos, Graubünden and Switzerland are the focal point of national and international media attention.

The Federal Council considers the WEF Annual Meeting to be an exceptional event for Switzerland as it provides a unique opportunity to cultivate relations with a great many leading figures in a special setting. It is an outstanding privilege for Switzerland to be able to host this forum for exchanging views and seeking solutions to world problems, and therefore to continue Switzerland’s longstanding tradition of serving as a host country for international conferences and gatherings.

3.   Costs and benefits

The additional costs to the public authorities for security at the WEF Annual Meeting 2019 are estimated to amount to around CHF 9 million. This is split between the funding partners as follows: WEF 2/8; Canton of Graubünden: 2/8; Davos: 1/8; Confederation: 3/8. Funding details are set out in the Dispatch accompanying the Federal Decree on the deployment of the armed forces to support the Canton of Graubünden with security measures at the World Economic Forum Annual Meetings 2019–2021 in Davos (BBl 2018 1013, here 1024).

The three-level finance model for security costs has generally been applied since 2004:
 

Level 1:

There is a cost ceiling of CHF 9 million a year for security. The costs are shared among the partners as follows:

  • Canton of Graubünden: CHF 2.25 million
  • Davos: CHF 1.125 million
  • Confederation: CHF 3.375 million
  • WEF: CHF 2.25 million
  • Cost ceiling: CHF 9 million

The federal government’s share amounts to 3/8 of the overall security costs at the Annual Meeting; due to the cost ceiling, however, this sum is limited to a maximum of CHF 3 million per annum.

Level 2:

If the cost ceiling is exceeded due to unusual circumstances, level 2 of the finance model is applied. The following are examples of unusual situations which may lead to the cost ceiling being exceeded:
- Participation at short notice of an unusually large number of internationally protected persons at the Annual Meeting;
- Large-scale changes to the Annual Meeting programme at short notice;
- Significant increase in costs of accommodation for security staff from outside the canton;
- Extension of security zone in Davos owing to the number of people requiring security;
- Exceptional weather circumstances.

The federal government has set aside maximum additional funds of CHF 900,000 to cover any costs engendered by the above unusual circumstances at the three annual meetings in 2019, 2020 and 2021. If the additional costs exceed this amount, the extra expenditure will be met by the finance partners according to the ratio set under Level 1, unless Level 3 comes into play.
 

Level 3

In the event of exceptional incidents (e.g. terrorist attacks, assassination attempts on politicians or business leaders, major threats or clear indications that such acts may be carried out), the federal government will meet 80% of any costs exceeding those under Levels 1 and 2. The remaining 20% will be met by the Canton of Graubünden, Davos and the WEF.

The Canton of Graubünden pays around CHF 2.25 million towards the costs of the WEF Annual Meeting (at Level 1). The commune of Davos will contribute around CHF 1.125 million annually to the security costs up to 2021; this amount was approved by voters in Davos on 23 November 2018. The commune of Klosters will contribute CHF 100,000 of this amount. The WEF pays CHF 2.25 million of the annual security costs incurred by the Annual Meeting.

The deployment of the armed forces in support is funded through the normal DDPS budget. Overall, the cost of deploying troops at the WEF Annual Meeting is much the same as that incurred by the same battalions when on regular training. In previous years, the deployment of the armed forces has cost around CHF 32 million per meeting. 

The World Economic Forum is a foundation. In the financial year from July 2017 to June 2018, it reported a turnover of CHF 326 million and a surplus of CHF 1.7 million, which is paid into the foundation’s capital. In 2017 the WEF Annual Meeting generated an estimated turnover of around CHF 94 million throughout Switzerland. About CHF 60 million of this benefited the commune of Davos. These figures are reported in a study commissioned by the WEF and conducted by the University of St Gallen, a summary of which can be found at www.wef.gr.ch > Documentation > Economic significance.  

4.   Security

A number of agencies from the Confederation, the canton and the commune of Davos work together with the World Economic Forum. Responsibility for coordination rests with the WEF committee of the Graubünden government (www.wef.gr.ch), which is chaired by Cantonal Councillor Marcus Caduff.

The Graubünden cantonal police and its partners ensure the security of visitors to the WEF Annual Meeting, the local population and guests.

In light of terrorist attacks in Europe in recent years and the ongoing activities of jihadist groups and organisations, the terrorist threat in many European countries remains elevated or high. It must be assumed that there will be further attacks – from simple attacks carried out by individuals and small groups to complex attacks staged e.g. by the militant group Islamic State (Isis). The spate of attacks in Europe and their considerable media impact may also incite radicalised persons in Switzerland to carry out terrorist violence. The security authorities at federal and cantonal level continuously assess the situation and take appropriate measures where necessary. Robust security precautions with a high, visible police presence, intensive reconnaissance and police checks will again be necessary in 2019 to ensure the WEF Annual Meeting passes off safely.

All cantons in Switzerland contribute personnel and equipment the inter-cantonal police operation to maintain security and protect people and property. The Federal Assembly has also authorised the deployment of up to 5,000 armed forces personnel in 2019–2021 for civil support duties to assist the Canton of Graubünden. (www.armee.ch/wef).

Responsibility for two areas of security rests with the Confederation:

  • For internationally protected foreign persons such as heads of state, heads of government or serving members of government, the Federal Security Service will order special protective measures if necessary. These, along with the general security plans, are carried out by the cantonal police and its partners. 

  • The Federal Council has imposed security restrictions on the airspace over Davos to safeguard air sovereignty. Civilian aircraft may continue to fly through the restricted airspace provided they have been registered and identified. Authorisation is given by the Air Force. If the need arises, aerial policing measures can be ordered and executed in accordance with international rules and procedures. In addition, helicopter traffic to and from Davos has to be controlled during the WEF Annual Meeting. The restrictions also apply to paragliders, drones, model aircraft, etc. (for further information, see https://www.bazl.admin.ch/wef (not in English) and www.wef.gr.ch in the FAQs).

5.   Freedom of opinion and freedom to demonstrate 

The authorities of the Confederation and the Canton of Graubünden consider the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting to be a place of open dialogue. As such, critical debate on issues such as globalisation and the development of the world economy should therefore be possible. However, the authorities expect the concerns, arguments and proposals of critics to be put forward in a peaceful manner.

 

The Graubünden authorities are again willing, in principle, to authorise a demonstration this year. However, it is essential that requirements to protect people, infrastructure and property are respected.

 

If a demonstration is held in a town square or involves a march, detailed arrangements have to be made between the organisers and the authorities. Considerations such as traffic routing have to be taken into account, as do the needs of the local population and holiday guests. Requests for authorisation to hold a demonstration must therefore be submitted as early as possible (see information under FAQs at www.wef.gr.ch).

 

If a demonstration is held without authorisation, the authorities will take whatever measures are required to ensure the security and freedom of movement of residents and guests, while remaining within the bounds of what is proportionate. Offenders will be prosecuted.

The threshold set for police intervention will be consistent with that applied in previous years, which has proven to be effective. Intervention is appropriate when the law is broken in order to send a clear signal that violence will not be tolerated. The proven strategy of dialogue, de-escalation and firm response within the scope of what is proportionate will continue to be applied. In order to ensure an open and comprehensive briefing of the media and the general public on all aspects of WEF Annual Meetings in Davos, the Graubünden authorities, in cooperation with the commune of Davos and the Confederation, have set up an external media centre as well as the website www.wef.gr.ch

6.   Impact on tourism 

Winter sports in the Davos / Prättigau region are generally not affected during the WEF Annual Meeting. There are no general travel restrictions. Davos is accessible by public transport, by road or on foot.

Precautionary personal, vehicle and baggage checks will however be carried out on all access roads. The primary concern is to prevent any dangerous items being brought into Davos. The checks are intended to protect people attending the conferences, residents and visitors. The Graubünden authorities guarantee that the checks on access routes to Davos will take place quickly and without harassment. However, delays at checkpoints remain possible. 

Additional information on the latest travel and traffic situation can be found at www.graubuenden.ch , www.rhb.ch, www.strassen.gr.ch and http://www.sbb.ch/en/timetable/rail-traffic-information.html  

Within Davos entry restrictions will be in place in certain areas for the duration of the WEF Annual Meeting; these are security zones around the Kongresszentrum / Kongresshotel / Hilton Garden Inn, the Seehof, Intercontinental, Belvédère and Ameron hotels, at the Seewiese helicopter landing site and sections of the Parsenn car park (See www.wef.gr.ch for details). Persons resident in the security areas will be issued with personal badges and car discs (cantonal police hotline: +41 (0)81 257 58 15). All other hotels and all shops can be reached without restriction.

 

Last modification 14.01.2019

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