As the war continues in Ukraine, a sword of Damocles hangs over the global economy, especially in the developing world as a consequence of the conflict, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned today.
Sanctioning Russia and Arms Supply to Ukraine Won’t End Crisis
In statements to the press accredited to the United Nations, he recalled that Russia and Ukraine are the source of numerous resources for states around the world. Both possess more than half of the world's sunflower oil supply and about 30 percent of the world's wheat, he stressed.
Ukraine alone provides more than half of the World Food Program's wheat supply, the Portuguese diplomat said. Due to the ongoing conflict in that territory, he added, the prices of food, fuel, and fertilizers are soaring, while supply chains are disrupted.Transportation costs and delays for imported goods, when available, are at record levels, he added.
Even before the conflict, developing countries were struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic with record inflation, rising interest rates and looming debt burdens, the headline recalled.
But their ability to respond has now been wiped out by exponential increases in the cost of financing, he warned, all of which is hurting the poorest and planting the seeds of political instability and unrest around the world.
Grain prices have already surpassed those at the beginning of the Arab Spring and the food riots recorded from 2007 to 2008, he said.
The global food price index is at its highest level ever and it is urgent to do everything possible to avoid a hurricane of hunger and the collapse of the international food system, the UN Secretary General stressed.
Developing countries are among the hardest hit and my plea to leaders is to resist the temptation to increase military budgets at the expense of Official Development Assistance and climate action, Guterres said. Moreover, he said, the war also shows how the global addiction to fossil fuels puts energy security, climate action and the global economy at the mercy of geopolitics.
Beyond the war in Ukraine, we cannot forget the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and of climate change, in particular the one that followed it, the UN's top representative observed.
In the midst of this complex scenario, Guterres announced the establishment of a Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy, and Finance at the UN Secretariat.
A further escalation of war threatens all of humanity and it is therefore more urgent than ever to open the way for dialogue, diplomacy and peace, he said.
In this regard, he reiterated his call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the establishment of serious negotiations based on the principles of the UN Charter and international law.