The annual gathering of the world’s political, economic and business elite traditionally takes place in January against the idyllic snowy backdrop of the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
But the forum has not been held since January 2020, despite repeated postponements and even a proposed one-off shift to Singapore.
“After all the virtual meetings taking place in the last two years, leaders from politics, business and civil society have to convene finally in person again,” WEF founder Klaus Schwab said in a statement.
“We need to establish the atmosphere of trust that is truly needed to accelerate collaborative action and to address the multiple challenges we face.”
The gathering, under the theme of “Working Together, Restoring Trust”, will offer leaders a chance to take stock of the state of the world and shape policies for the crucial period ahead, the WEF said.
“Topics on the agenda will include the pandemic recovery, tackling climate change, building a better future for work, accelerating stakeholder capitalism, and harnessing the technologies of the fourth Industrial Revolution,” it said.
The WEF has been holding an online series of round-table events this week at which world and business leaders shared their views on the global economic outlook.
The Geneva-based organisation said it would be in close communication with the Swiss government on the Covid-19 situation in the wealthy Alpine nation.
“The meeting will take place as long as all necessary conditions are in place to guarantee the health and safety of its participants and the host community,” it said.
Switzerland, population 8.6 million, is battling a fifth wave of the pandemic, registering nearly 38,000 new cases on Wednesday — a rate higher than in the surrounding European Union.
The January 2020 edition of the WEF summit, hosted just as the world was beginning to become aware of the new coronavirus spreading in China, drew more than 50 heads of state and government to the village of Davos.
US president Donald Trump and Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg were among its top speakers.