United Nations warned, the world is facing many crises, from food and fuel crisis, the risk of famine, to inflation, rising public debt. According to the Director General of UNDP, this is an important time for countries to work together to solve the crisis, not to turn their backs on each other.
In an interview with AFP on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week, the Director-General of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Achim Steiner said the United Nations estimates that by May 2022, the world More than 200 million people in the world are facing severe hunger. And the number of people who may face future threats is growing, such as drought in the Horn of Africa.
Meanwhile, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Deputy Director Maurizio Martina told Corriere della Sera newspaper that the number of people worldwide facing acute hunger would increase by 18 million as a result of the conflict. Russia-Ukraine. The number is likely to increase if countries do not work together to tackle the food crisis. The global threat to cereal supplies has become alarming, especially for developing countries, as 36 of the countries hit by food crises previously bought more than 10, Martina noted. % wheat from Russia and Ukraine. There are countries that even depend on 30, 40, 50% of their wheat supply from countries like Ukraine.
According to Sara Menker, CEO of Gro Intelligence – a global company that uses artificial intelligence and public and private data to predict food supply trends – global food insecurity has reached a critical level. not seen since the 2008 financial crisis, Ms. Menker told the United Nations that the world now has only about 10 weeks of wheat left.
A grain crisis is brewing across the globe as wheat prices surge to record highs over the past two months. Major producers such as Russia, Kazakhstan and India have stopped exporting to protect the domestic market, while Ukraine’s supply is being disrupted due to the conflict. According to Mr. Martina, at least 6 million tons of flour and 14 million tons of corn are blocked due to the blockade of the Black Sea port. Besides, the sanctions against Russia affect the supply of fertilizer as well as the price of this commodity. Those factors combined are pushing up wheat prices, which could exacerbate the global food crisis.
The FAO Deputy Director warned that “no country policy can tackle global food insecurity alone”, and called on governments to form a multilateral strategy to deal with the problem. situation.
In an optimistic sign, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed in a phone call on May 28 with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron that Russia is ready to export fertilizers as well as other agricultural products. on the condition that the West lifts some sanctions. Putin also said that Russia will ensure that grain exports can be made from Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea. According to Moscow, until recently, such an export was not possible due to Ukraine placing mines in the sea. However, the Russian Navy has opened two corridors for civilian ships, one in the Black Sea and the other through the Sea of Azov.
According to UNDP Director General Achim Steiner, food prices are also causing the financial crisis. The ability of governments to buy food on the world market when prices are high will be lower because the budget has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. UNDP estimates that about 80 countries are essentially facing the risk of debt this year. And the debt situation can quickly turn into a political rift.
“When people are starving, governments are unable to supply food in the market, political instability quickly arises and this is deeply concerning. I think we’ve already seen that in Sri Lanka, Latin America and certainly in Africa – countries that are likely to face both extraordinary increases in food import prices and energy imports. “- said Mr. Achim Steiner.
According to Mr. Steiner, there are currently about 60 to 70 countries facing all three crises at the same time, and this is also the most worrying group that needs support from the international community, but has not yet received adequate support. appropriate and complete.
According to the Director General of UNDP, the first solution that needs to be taken is to add more liquidity to the financial system and must address the fact that governments have run out of budgets after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Steiner emphasized that the three crises at the same time in terms of food security, energy prices and borrowing costs are serious problems. However, according to Mr. Steiner, countries’ responses can make a significant difference, because currently neither the G7, G20, Bretton Woods organizations, or the international platforms of UNDP have taken action. appropriate action or resources needed to act accordingly.