Western Leaders Pledge Aid and Support As War in Ukraine Threatens Global Security – Modern Diplomacy

Bold and urgent collective action is required not only to restore peace and security in Europe but also for the world, leaders told participants at the 53rd World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.
Andrzej Duda, President of Poland, warned that Russia is likely preparing itself for a new offensive in the next few months. “We must urgently send additional military support to Ukraine, especially modern tanks and missile systems to stop the Russian offensive,” he said. Europe should listen to the voice of Ukraine – they want to be part of Europe and they want to be part of NATO. “The next few months will be crucial to decide the outcome of the war,” he added.
The importance of acting now was also stressed by Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary-General of NATO. Russia is planning new offensive attacks and is conscripting more soldiers and restocking ammunition, he said. There is an urgent need for more advanced support including air defence systems. “We must fight for our democratic values – we have to prove that freedom wins over tyranny.”
Avril Haines, US Director of National Intelligence, said fighting continues along the frontlines but the tempo of the war has materially decreased. “It’s a not a stalemate, but a grinding conflict at this stage.”
The Canadian government has said it will donate 200 more armoured vehicles, which is part of the additional $500 million in military aid for Ukraine. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Canada, said: “Supplying Ukraine with weapons and money to win the war is in our own self-interest.”
Yuliia Svyrydenko, First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, described how Ukraine’s ability to function despite the war is improving over time. “In the 329 days of the war so far, we have gained unique experience in how to keep the economy and essential services running,” she said. “No one doubts that Ukraine will win this war, but every day brings more death and damage. Assistance now will significantly speed up Ukraine’s success.”
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Developed countries should walk the talk on transforming food systems by helping smallholder farmers in developing countries with cheaper access to irrigation, fertilizers and markets, said Raj Kumar Singh, India’s Minister for New and Renewable Energy, in a session on “Interplay of Food, Energy and Water” at the 53rd World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.
India is providing millions of solar water pumps to farmers, and will soon produce enough green ammonia to stop imports of ammonia-based fertilizers, which form a big chunk of its import bills, the minister said. Asked why India is continuing to import cheap Russian gas despite international opprobrium, Singh said India imports less gas from Russia in a month than Europe does in a day, adding: “India had a conflict with its northern neighbour; did the West do anything about it? Stop importing from it?”
Speaking of his experience as a Goodwill Ambassador for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the actor Idris Elba said IFAD’s interventions show the systems that work and are replicable but more public-private partnerships (PPPs) are needed. “Countries need a food systems ministry, not just an agriculture ministry. One that relies on people-centric policies, incentivizes the private sector for early adoption of new systems, has multifaceted goals.”
Viet Nam has already operationalized such PPPs, said Tran Hong Ha, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam. “Farmers in developing countries are usually not wealthy and need partnership among all stakeholders – producers, consumers and others along the value chain – in order to contribute knowledge and share profits.” He added that there is inevitably friction, too, and governments can play a balancing role to ensure that each sector can develop fully.
Proclaiming PepsiCo to be “mainly an agricultural company”, Ramon Laguarta, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, USA, said his company is striving to make agriculture regenerative, sustainable and positive for the planet. As the owner of the largest private fleet of vehicles in the US, PepsiCo is makings its vehicles low-emission. “We have beautiful brands that have the power to educate consumers on sustainability,” he said.
Calling for an international agreement whereby every country would become accountable for transforming its food system, he said it is imperative to put the farmer at the centre, and make sure the farmer makes good money while using fewer resources and producing fewer carbon emissions. Emphasizing the need to “make farming sexy”, Laguarta said there will be no next generation of farmers unless farmers love their profession, earn an living and continue to invest in farming. “We must help with technology, training, funding,” he said. “It’s happening; it is the future of our company.”
Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development of Norway, said it was absurd that “the very people who go hungry are food producers”, adding that “now, with increasing cost of inputs, it will get worse.” Speaking of the US Department of Agriculture’s Global Fertilizer Challenge, she made a case for precision agriculture that maps soils to enable optimum fertilizer and water use.
Agreeing with Indian minister Singh that derisking should be a key element of financial support to farmers in developing countries, Tvinnereim said Norway has been able to use its taxpayers’ money to crowd in private money. “We have the technologies, we know what to do, but we need investment to create a virtuous cycle of investment.”
The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship announced today 16 awardees for social innovation in 2023.
The 2023 Social Innovators of the Year includes a list of outstanding founders and chief executive officers, multinational and regional business leaders, government leaders and recognized experts.
The list includes a Nigerian entrepreneur supporting smallholder farmers increase profits and turning at-risk young people into entrepreneurs; a New York-based pioneer of “open hiring” that helps individuals facing barriers to meaningful employment by offering work with no interviews, no background checks and no resumés; and a Brazilian collective network of more than 70 organizations in 14 countries that monitors land use and change to promote the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources and fight climate change.
The awardees were selected in recognition of their innovative approach and potential for global impact by Schwab Foundation Board members. The selection committee includes Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark (2011-2015), and social innovation expert Johanna Mair, Professor of Organization, Strategy and Leadership at the Hertie School of Governance in Germany, and H.M. Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Honorary Board Member.
“The Social Innovators of the Year 2023 represent a generation of social and environmental change leaders who demonstrate that innovative models of cooperation and action across sectors are critical to making progress on the complex challenges we face,” said Hilde Schwab, Co-Founder and Chairperson of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
This year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting marks the 25th anniversary of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. In 1998 Hilde Schwab, together with her husband Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, created the foundation to support new models for social change, combining values and dedication with the best business principles to create a more just, sustainable and equitable world.
Today, the foundation has a thriving community of over 450 global social entrepreneurs that has impacted the lives of nearly 1 billion people in 190 countries. The entrepreneurs offer access to healthcare, education, housing, finance, digital skills and advocacy networks resulting in job creation economic opportunity, improved health and stability.
“Complex problems cannot be tackled by single organizations, and this year’s Schwab Foundation awardees show new models of collaborating across sectors using innovative technology, human networks and shared resources and knowledge. Many social innovators have a long history of working in collaboration with others. The ambition now is in creating systemic change through collective efforts,” said François Bonnici, Director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
The 2023 Schwab Foundation Awards are hosted in a long-term partnership with the Motsepe Foundation, founded on the philosophy of “Ubuntu”, the African concept of giving and caring for your neighbour and other members of your community.
“Social entrepreneurs act as a bridge that connects ethics and values to our business principles. I believe these entrepreneurs are designing a blueprint for meaningful economies by re-imagining progress during these uncertain times,” said Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Co-Chair, Motsepe Foundation and Chancellor of the University of Cape Town.
The 2023 awardees are awarded across four categories:
Social entrepreneurs
Pioneering systemic solutions for social and environmental challenges ranging from refugee family reunification and human rights to water infrastructure and financial inclusion.
Ady Beitler, CEO, Nilus (Argentina) – leads the Argentinian social enterprise that uses technology and sharing economy models to reduce food loss and waste. His organization’s mission is to alleviate hunger by lowering the cost of healthy food for those on low incomes – a goal it achieves by rescuing food that would otherwise be wasted and distributing it at discounted prices.
Aniket Doegar, CEO, Haqdarshak Empowerment Solutions Private Limited (India) –has led the Indian social impact organization working on easing access to welfare for seven years. It digitized welfare schemes and provided application support to more than 120,000 people in low-income rural and urban communities.
Aref Husseini, CEO, Al Nayzak Foundation for Extra Curricular Education and Scientific Innovation (Palestine Territories) – challenging traditional teaching methods in the Palestinian education system to produce more students who are critical thinkers and who approach problem solving through research, analysis and scientific thinking.
Celina de Sola, President, Glasswing International (El Salvador) – empowers individuals and communities to address the root causes of poverty and violence through education and health programmes. Glasswing has expanded from its El Salvador base to 10 other countries and has impacted more than 1.5 million lives since 2007.
Joseph Kenner, CEO, Greyston (USA) – the New York-based pioneer of “open hiring” that helps individuals facing barriers to meaningful employment by offering work with no interviews, no background checks and no resumés. Best known for its bakery, Greyston is now expanding its reach and aims to provide open-hiring employment opportunities to 40,000 Americans by 2030.
Kola Masha, Managing Director, Babban Gona (Nigeria) – helps smallholder farmers increase profits and turns at-risk young people into entrepreneurs. Babban Gona’s unique technology platform helps farmers increase yields and aims to create millions of youth jobs, breaking a cycle of poverty and violence in rural communities.
Säbeen Haque, Executive Director, doctHERS (Pakistan) – connects female doctors to millions of under-served patients using digital technology through the innovative healthcare platform doctHERS. The online marketplace helps reintegrate women medical practitioners into the workforce and empowers marginalized communities by circumventing sociocultural barriers that can restrict access to healthcare.
Corporate Social Intrapreneurs:
Leaders within multinational or regional companies who drive the development of new products, initiatives, services, or business models that address societal and environmental challenges.
Benoît Bonello, Social Innovation Director, SUEZ Group (France) –leading the company’s inclusive business approach with the goal of delivering a positive impact on society and the environment.
Kanika Pal, South Asia Sustainability Head, Hindustan Unilever (India) –an award-winning CSR and sustainability professional with over 17 years of experience, Pal quit the corporate sector from 2015 to 2017 and founded the Solutions for Clean and Healthy Environment Foundation to influence behaviour change for a cleaner planet.
Public Social Intrapreneurs:
Leaders in the public sector, be it local or national governments or representatives of international organizations, who harness the power of social innovation and social entrepreneurship to create public good through policy, regulation, or public initiatives. The Schwab Foundation is the first of its kind to recognize public sector changemakers.
Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor, Freetown City Council (Sierra Leone) – committed to transforming the city’s services, infrastructure and environment using an inclusive data-driven approach. The mayor’s three-year Transform Freetown plan details 19 concrete targets in 11 sectors covering issues ranging from waste management to improving urban planning and tackling environmental degradation.
Bushra Al Mulla, Director General, Family Care Authority of Abu Dhabi (UAE) – has been a serial intrapreneur in the Abu Dhabi government and has transformed the lives of families, children and people with disabilities through integration of public services to establish a holistic approach to families, allowing them to live as empowered citizens in the emirate.
Collective Social Innovation:
Organizations coming together to address complex problems that cannot be tackled by individual actors, leveraging pooled assets such as knowledge, innovative solutions, human capital, access to networks and communication channels.
MapBiomas (Brazil), co-led by Tasso Azevedo, Founder and General Coordinator, Julia Shimbo, Scientific Coordinator, and Marcos Rosa, Technical Coordinator – a collaborative network of more than 70 organizations in 14 countries that monitors land use and land use change to promote the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources and fight climate change.
ProjectTogether (Germany), co-led by Philipp von der Wippel, Founder and Co-CEO, and Henrike Schlottmann, Co-CEO – an innovation platform based in Germany that supports the next generation in developing ground-breaking ideas from circular economy projects to climate-positive agriculture. to supporting refugees. It has supported more than 1,000 social pioneers and built a network of over 500 volunteer coaches and 400 experts.
Punjab Education Collective (India), co-led by Khushboo Awasthi, Chief Operating Officer of ShikshaLokam, Rucha Pande, Chief Operating Officer at Mantra4Change, and Simranpreet Oberoi, Co-Founder and Leader of Sanjhi Sikhiya – a collective of four organizations working to transform the public education system of the state of Punjab and improve educational standards against global benchmarks, impacting 2.3 million students across 19,000 government schools in Punjab.
Tamarack Institute (Canada), co-led by Liz Weaver and Danya Pastuszek, Co-CEOs – develops and supports collaborative strategies to fight poverty and solve major community issues mainly in Canada. The network has grown to more than 90 regional members, local non-profit or community associations, whose work impacts 22 million Canadians, equivalent to 58% of the country’s population.
WIEGO (Global), co-led by Sally Roever, International Coordinator (UK/US), Janhavi Dave, International Coordinator of HomeNet International (India), and Lorraine Sibanda, President of the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (Zimbabwe) – a global network dedicated to improving the working conditions, rights, protection, economic opportunities and voice of all the working poor, particularly women, in the informal economy.
Western officials increasingly fear that Ukraine has only a narrow window to prepare to repel an anticipated Russian springtime offensive, and are moving fast to give the Ukrainians sophisticated weapons they had earlier refused to send for fear of provoking Moscow, – writes ‘The New York Times’.
Over the last few weeks, one barrier after another has fallen, starting with an agreement by the United States in late December to send a Patriot air-defense system. That was followed by a German commitment last week to provide a Patriot missile battery, and in the span of hours, France, Germany and the United States each promised to send armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine’s battlefields for the first time.
Now it looks likely that modern Western tanks will be added to the growing list of powerful weapons being sent Ukraine’s way, as the United States and its allies take on more risk to defend Ukraine — especially as its military has made unexpected advances and held out against withering assaults.
While Ukraine has been requesting sophisticated tanks since the start of the war, the push to satisfy those pleas gained speed this week as the British and Polish governments publicly urged a change in the Western alliance’s stance.
The British signaled that they were close to agreeing to send a small number of tanks, and the Polish government said it would happily send some of its German-made tanks, though Berlin would need to allow it.
A German defense ministry spokesman said no decision had been made by the government of Mr. Scholz, a Social Democrat. But his coalition partners, the Greens and Free Democrats, support sending the tanks, a senior minister amped up the pressure. “There is a difference between making a decision for yourself and preventing others from making a decision,” Germany’s economics minister and vice chancellor, Robert Habeck of the Greens, said in Berlin.
NATO allies that were once part of the Soviet sphere have given their Soviet-era tanks to Ukraine. But much of Kyiv’s fleet has been destroyed or worn down by months of battle, and it is running low on ammunition, which is incompatible with Western munitions.
Since the war began nearly a year ago, the West has resisted giving some of its most potent weapons to Ukraine, fearing that would bring NATO into direct conflict with Russia…
The Biden administration, leading the coalition of allies supplying Ukraine with weapons, is still holding back American-made M1 Abrams tanks, which require constant upkeep and special fuel, and which officials say are too scarce to spare.
The issue of whether to allow Leopards to be sent to Ukraine is likely to come to a head at a Jan. 20 meeting of senior defense and military officials from dozens of nations, including NATO states, at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Britain has so far said it is considering sending as few as 10 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine. Britain has about 227 Challengers, which have maintenance issues, and it would be hard-pressed to replenish its stocks.
Rishi Sunak, the new prime minister, wants to take some leadership in the war, and London and Warsaw appear to be acting in concert to put pressure on Berlin…
As Western arms transfers to Ukraine continue to mount, with weapons valued in the tens of billions of dollars set to be delivered by the middle of the year, growing signs have emerged that the Ukrainian Army will receive its first Western battle tanks with Poland, Britain and Spain being among the most likely to provide these. While the United States and France recently pledged to provide M2 Bradley and AMX-10 RC fighting vehicles, deliveries of the German built Leopard 2 and British Challenger 2 would represent a significant escalation, notes ‘Military Watch Magazine’.  
On January 11 Polish President Andrzej Duda stated that a company of Leopard 2s would be transferred to Ukraine – a total of 12 vehicles. It remains likely that these are not expected to be deployed near the frontlines, but instead will be delivered to acquaint Ukrainian forces with the vehicles to facilitate a smoother transition to the class in future. Poland currently has over 240 Leopard 2s in service.
NATO members have consistently proven reluctant to supply modern Western armour classes to Ukraine, with the significant possibility of heavy losses to Russian forces potentially undermining their ability to compete for exports overseas in future.
The Leopard 2’s combat record has already been deeply tarnished by its performance in Turkish hands against Kurdish and Islamic State insurgents, with the heavy losses suffered to relatively poorly armed adversaries leading Turkish generals to describe their forces’ experience as “trauma.”
The M1 Abrams proved similarly underwhelming in Iraqi hands against Islamic State forces and to a lesser but still significant extent in Saudi hands in Yemen.
As a result there remains a high possibility that Western tanks delivered will not be deployed to the Donbas frontlines, at least for the foreseeable future, to avoid the possibility of their destruction or capture., – writes General Lord Richard Dannatt.
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