UN, March 15 (IPS) – Ukraine is on fire. The country is being destroyed before the eyes of the world. The impact on civilians is reaching terrifying proportions. Countless innocent people – including women and children – were killed. After being attacked by Russian troops, roads, airports and schools lay in ruins.
According to the World Health Organization, at least 24 medical facilities were attacked. Hundreds of thousands of people have no water or electricity. With each passing hour, two things became increasingly clear: First – it continued to get worse. Second – whatever the outcome, this war will have no winners, only losers. The United Nations and humanitarian partners are working to secure safe passage from besieged areas and deliver aid when security allows. More than 600,000 people have received some form of aid. As millions of people in Ukraine face starvation and supplies of water and medicine dwindle, I announce today that the United Nations will allocate an additional $40 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to Strengthening vital support to reach the most vulnerable, as we wait for the countries to come. The grant will help bring vital supplies of food, water, medicine and other life-saving aid into the country, as well as cash assistance to those in need. But the roads in and out of besieged cities are getting more and more precarious. I stress the crucial importance of respecting international humanitarian law. At least 1.9 million people are internally displaced, and more are fleeing across borders. I am deeply grateful for the solidarity of Ukraine’s neighbors and other host countries, who have received more than 2.8 million refugees in the past two weeks. The majority of those making the perilous journey are women and children, who are increasingly vulnerable. For predators and traffickers, war is not a tragedy. That is an opportunity. And women and children are the target. They need safety and support every step of the way. I will continue to highlight the desperate plight of the Ukrainian people as I am doing again today. However, there is another aspect of this conflict that is obscured. This war goes far beyond Ukraine. It is also an attack on the most vulnerable people and countries in the world. While war rages over Ukraine, a sword of Damocles still hangs over the global economy – especially in the developing world. Even before the conflict, developing countries were struggling to recover from the pandemic – with record inflation, rising interest rates and mounting debt burdens. Their ability to respond has been erased by the exponential increase in financing costs. Now their breadbasket is being bombed. Russia and Ukraine represent more than half of the world’s supplies of sunflower oil and about 30% of wheat. Ukraine alone provides more than half of the World Food Program’s wheat supply. Prices of food, fuel and fertilizers are skyrocketing. Supply chains are disrupted. And import freight costs and delays – when they do – are at record levels. All of this is hitting the poorest and planting the seeds of political turmoil and instability around the globe. Grain prices exceeded those during the beginning of the Arab Spring and the 2007-2008 food riots. The FAO Global Food Price Index is at an all-time high. The 45 least developed and African countries import at least a third of their wheat from Ukraine Russia – 18 of which import at least 50 per cent. This includes countries like Burkina Faso, Egypt, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. We must do everything we can to prevent the storm of hunger and the deterioration of the global food system. In addition, we are seeing clear evidence that this war is draining resources and attention from other trouble spots that are desperately needed. I continue to urge countries to find innovative ways to finance the growing development and humanitarian recovery needs worldwide, while providing generously and immediate release of funds. committed money. My plea to leaders is to resist the temptation of increasing military budgets at the expense of Official Development Assistance and climate action. In a word, developing countries are being battered. They face a series of crises – apart from the Ukraine war, we cannot forget COVID and the effects of climate change – especially drought. In the light of these enormous interconnected challenges, I am today announcing the creation of a Global Crisis Response Team for Food, Energy and Finance within the United Nations Secretariat. I have also asked the Deputy Secretary-General to lead an interagency steering committee with partners to oversee this effort. In the coming days, we will consult with Member States that stand ready to support the actions necessary to implement the urgent global response needed to these looming crises. Make no mistake: everyday people, especially women and children, will have to bear the brunt of this ongoing tragedy. The war also shows how the global addiction to fossil fuels is putting energy security, climate action, and the entire global economy in the face of geopolitics. Ultimately, further escalation of war, whether by accident or by design, threatens all of humanity. Raising vigilance about Russia’s nuclear forces is a bone-chilling development. The prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back in the realm of possibility. The security and safety of nuclear facilities must also be preserved. It’s time to end the terror for the people of Ukraine and go on the path of diplomacy and peace. I have been in close contact with several countries – including China, France, Germany, India, Israel and Turkey – about reconciliation efforts to end this war. Calls for peace must be heard. This tragedy must stop. It is never too late for diplomacy and dialogue. We need an immediate end to hostile acts and serious negotiations based on the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. We need peace. Peace for the people of Ukraine. Peace for the world. Now we need peace.
IPS UN Office
© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service