Doha Forum kicks off in Qatari capital
Opening the forum, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani called for a new future "for our children to inherit", as this year's program focused on climate change and sustainability; defence, cyber and food security; financial and economic development; and geopolitical alliances and international relations.
In his address, the Qatari emir spoke of a world in "a state of tension and division on every level".
The emir stressed Qatar's rejection of violence that threatens national sovereignty and destroys human values, saying that "humanity cannot accept superpowers competing over weapons that threaten us all".
In the face of the threats posed by a multipolar world, "we believe that social justice is the best tool we have", he continued.
The emir also drew the forum's attention to the plight of millions of Palestinians, "who have been suffering from the Israeli occupation and international neglect for more than seven decades".
"The accusation of antisemitism is now used wrongly against everyone who criticises Israel's policies," he highlighted.
The two-day event, held under the theme 'Transforming for a New Era', sees the participation of prominent speakers, including policy-makers, representatives of international organizations, business leaders, activists, and academics.
Ukraine's Zelensky makes surprise video appearance
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky appeared at the start of the Doha Forum, asking Muslims in Ukraine to fight during Ramadan and calling on world powers to come to his aid.
Zelensky compared the destruction currently taking place during the siege of Mariupol to the siege placed on Aleppo by Syrian and Russian forces in 2016 which flattened many parts of the city.
"They are destroying our ports… and when exports from Ukraine dry up, it will hit countries all over the world,” said President Zelensky, adding that "the future of Europe depends on you".
"Russia is deliberately bragging they can destroy with nuclear weapons, not only a certain country but the entire planet," Zelensky said.
He also called for energy producers in the Gulf to increase global supplies, looking to Qatar as one of the world's leading exporters of Liquified Natural Gas. Western sanctions have deeply cut into Russian exports, which are crucial for European nations.
Zelensky addressed Muslims fasting Ramadan in Ukraine, requesting that they maintain their armed efforts defending the country.
"We have to ensure that this sacred month of Ramadan is not overshadowed by the weight of human despair in Ukraine," he said.
Russia began its war on Feb. 24. It has been met with international outrage, with the EU, US, and the UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.
At least 1,081 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 1,707 injured, according to UN estimates, while noting that the true figure is likely far higher.
More than 3.7 million Ukrainians have also fled to neighboring countries, with over 6.5 million displaced inside the country, according to the UN refugee agency.