Activists Claim Victory Over Davos Forum
Note: SwissInfo reports: The petroleum giant Chevron has received the most tongue-in-cheek designation in Davos: the Public Eye Lifetime Award, given to the company with the worst record when it comes to human rights and protecting the planet.
United States-based Chevron was denounced for “the environmental disaster caused by oil speculation in the rainforest of northern Ecuador” by the awarding NGOs Berne Declaration and Greenpeace on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.
“Chevron has refused to pay $9.5 billion (CHF8.3 billion) in damages [ordered by a court in 2013] for the rehabilitation of areas devastated by petroleum exploration,” said Paul Paz of Amazon Watch, the California NGO which nominated Chevron for the Public Eye Award in 2006.
The Public Eye Award has been awarded more than a dozen times to corporations from around the world, including commodities giant Glencore, the Royal Bank of Canada and pharmaceutical company Roche.
The World Economic Forum at Davos Has Lost Its Relevance
Anti-globalization activists have declared that their protest at Wednesday’s meeting in Davos of figures from the world’s elite will be their last.
Members of the World Economic Forum have long held that their stated aim of meeting annually in Switzerland is to “improve the state of the world.”
But protesters say the meetings are secretly aimed at promoting the agendas of corporations and lobbies at the expense of global citizenry.
And the campaigners have declared their work in bringing much of the realities of Davos to light has reached a new stage.
Oliver Claassen from the Berne Declaration, a Swiss NGO, told the Anadolu Agency: “The main reason for leaving Davos is the arrival of Corporate Justice – a campaign which lobbies politicians to force corporations to respect human rights and the environment.”
The Berne Declaration, which campaigns against corporate malpractice, and Greenpeace Switzerland, said they are withdrawing from Davos after 15 years of protest to join the new movement based in Bern, which is made up of more than 50 non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Davos ‘not relevant’
The Swiss Coalition for Corporate Justice (SCCJ) brings together groups which share the same goals of ensuring corporations in Switzerland are compelled to respect human rights and the environment worldwide, Classen said.
He also said that the WEF in Davos had now “lost its relevance.”
The Berne Declaration and Switzerland Greenpeace have annually presented an Award of Shame, sarcastically also known at the Public Eye Lifetime Award, to the worst corporations accused of violating human rights and the destruction of the environment.
Classen said he would deliver the award one last time in January before leaving Davos, with the six nominees being Chevron, Dow Chemical, Gazprom, Glencore, Goldman Sachs and Walmart.
He said: “The Public Eye on Davos created a counter-public to the closed, elitist circle of the WEF.
“Pressure from the Public Eye counter-conference moved the WEF to accept a partial opening-up of its conferences.”
Mathias Schlegel, spokesman for Green Peace Switzerland, said that the Davos forum was no longer important.
“It is no longer considered as a place of power. There will be some recommendations, but we will not see any important decisions made and it won’t change anything,” he added.
The forum will host a record number of participants including politicians, business leaders, international organizations and academics under this year’s motto of; “The New Global Context.”
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, said ahead of the upcoming forum: “Today’s leaders are facing challenges that are unprecedented in their complexity, velocity and interconnectedness.”
He added that by bringing together “key decision makers” on global issues, the forum aimed to provide the means to identify answers to three challenges.
A total of 3,000 security forces are expected to be on duty at the event.
The Swiss parliament set an upper limit on the number of troops at 5,000.
Heads of states and business leaders attending the WEF will, for the first time, land their private jets at the military airport near Zurich and travel by helicopter to Davos, the Swiss Defense Ministry said.
Meanwhile, Ahmet Davutoglu will be the first Turkish prime minister to attend the forum since the current president, former PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, walked out of a Davos panel six years ago after clashing publicly with Israeli President Shimon Peres over Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip.