UN, May 13 (IPS) – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this past February has triggered crises on multiple fronts: the deaths of thousands of civilians, the destruction of cities densely populated cities, an increase in military spending in Europe, an expected decline in development assistance to the poorer nations of the world; the destruction of schools and healthcare facilities — and now the threat of famine and famine all over the world.
David Beasley, executive director of the Rome-based World Food Program (WFP), said last week: “Currently, Ukraine’s grain vaults are full,” while “44 million are full” People all over the world are marching on hunger.”
In terms of population, that number accounts for the whole of Argentina.
“The bullets and bombs in Ukraine could take the global hunger crisis to a higher level than anything we’ve seen before,” Beasley warned during a visit to the Polish-Ukrainian border.
“The world demands it because hundreds of millions of people globally depend on these supplies. We are running out of time and the cost of inactivity will be higher than anyone can imagine. I call on all parties involved to allow this food to be brought out of Ukraine where it is desperately needed so that we can avert the looming danger of hunger.”
Beasley warned that unless ports are reopened, Ukrainian farmers will have nowhere to store their next harvest in July-August. As a result, mountains of grain will go to waste while WFP and the world struggle to deal with the already dire global hunger crisis.
As a leading grain producer, Ukraine has about 14 million tons in reserve and ready for export. But Russia’s blockade of ports in the Black Sea has brought shipments to a standstill. Many grains were stuck on ships that could not be moved because of the conflict.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters on May 3 that the US chaired a Security Council meeting last March focused on the link between armed conflict and security. food security.
“Once again, we will highlight conflict as a cause of food insecurity.”
The United States, which is holding the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month, has scheduled an open debate on May 19 to examine “the link between conflict and food security.” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to personally chair the meeting.
Danielle Nierenberg, Food Tank President, told IPS Russia’s war against Ukraine and its war crimes will have consequences that last decades. Production of staple crops has declined in many parts of the world as a result of the climate crisis and other conflicts.
“War will only exacerbate many of the crises the world is currently facing — the biodiversity loss crisis, the health crisis and the climate crisis.”
“And because Ukraine and Russia already supply so much food – cooking oil and fertilizer – to other parts of the world, including the Global South, there will be a hunger crisis,” she warned. big.
It is likely that war will accelerate the transition to regenerative and local and regional food systems more needed than before the war. But in the meantime, there will be a lot of suffering. Governments, NGOs, businesses and other stakeholders will need to act now to avert a food crisis, Nierenberg said.
At a press conference in Vienna on May 11, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “I have been in close contact with the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Turkey and a number of other key countries, to try to try to take the food problem seriously.
“But again, I have no intention of going public with any of the initiatives I have until they produce results, because if this becomes something that needs to be discussed globally, I surely we will not be able to achieve anything.” he say.
WFP analysis found that 276 million people worldwide were facing severe hunger by early 2022. That number is expected to increase by 44 million if the conflict in Ukraine continues. , with the highest increase in sub-Saharan Africa.
Daniel Bradlow, Professor of International Development Law and African Economic Relations at the Center for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, told IPS that the war in Ukraine will have a devastating impact in Africa because many African countries import Food and fertilizer imports from Russia and Ukraine.
Thus, war will lead to increase in food and fertilizer prices as well as food and fertilizer shortages. The effects of war will be accompanied by extreme weather events – droughts, floods – in various parts of the continent, which will also have a negative impact on food prices and supplies.
“So. There is likely to be an increase in the number of hungry people across the continent, which will have serious impacts on the development and well-being of children”.
The only downside to this dire situation, he noted, is that it could lead to people across the continent increasing their reliance on native crops like cassava.
Hanna Saarinen, Oxfam Food, Agriculture and Land Policy Advisor, told IPS that global hunger is on the rise with the war in Ukraine sending food prices soaring.
“This is a disaster for people living in countries that rely heavily on wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine. Countries like Yemen and Syria in the Middle East and Somalia and South Sudan in Africa, where we are seeing people pushed from the brink of famine,” she said.
The reason is that the global food system is broken, a system that is incapable of dealing with crises, and a system built on inequality. Many poorer countries cannot – and often cannot – produce enough food to feed their people. They have to rely on food imports. This dependency is dangerous, she adds. “Countries should limit the use of food export bans. They just do more harm. Countries should ensure that food can move quickly from one country to another.” “We need a food system that works for everyone. One that can withstand shocks such as rapid food inflation and the other that is built on local small-scale family ranching,” she stated.
Report of the United Nations Office IPS
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