Urgent measures are needed for food security

NEW YORK – Leaders from Europe, the Americas and Africa called on Tuesday for urgent action and funding to ease the growing global food security crisis, which has been exacerbated by Russia’s war with Ukraine and, thanks to climate change, threatens to worsen in the coming years.

Speaking at the Global Food Security Summit on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly, the leaders demanded an end to the war, each calling it an unnecessary “aggression”, while Spain’s prime minister accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to “blackmail” world with hunger, causing serious disruptions in the export of Ukrainian grain.

The leaders also accused Russia of spreading misinformation about the destination of Ukrainian grain, which was shipped from the Black Sea under a UN-brokered deal brokered by Turkey.

“Russia must stop its illegal war against Ukraine, which has certainly been an important source of food supplies in the world,” said Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez. “The truth is that Putin is trying to blackmail the international community with a significant part of the world’s food needs. We cannot fight hunger without peace. The world expects a lot from us. Let’s act together, and let’s act now.”

The UN food chief warned last week that the world faced a “global emergency of unprecedented scale” with up to 345 million people on the verge of starvation – with 70 million pushed to starvation by the war in Ukraine. David Beasley, executive director of the UN World Food Programme, told the UN Security Council that this number is 2.5 times the number of people suffering from acute food insecurity before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and that there is a real risk of “multiple famines » this year.

“This is unacceptable. This is intolerable,” said Charles Michel, president of the European Commission. “Russia’s war against the people of Ukraine is a test – a test of our rules-based international order.”

Together with Sanchez, Senegalese President Macky Sall, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Colombian President Gustavo Petra and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who replaced President Joe Biden, participated in the event. Michel opened the event by calling Russia’s lie that Ukrainian grain does not reach the countries that need it the most.

“Contrary to Russian disinformation, this food goes to Africa, the Middle East and Asia,” he said.

“We should not believe Russian disinformation,” Scholz repeated. “The data clearly show that the majority of facilitated grain exports go to developing and developing countries, with global impacts on grain availability and prices.”

He said next year could be even more difficult as food shortages will be compounded by fertilizer shortages, which Sal said is of particular concern to African countries.

Blinken called the numbers “staggering” and said that on Wednesday, Biden would announce additional US contributions to fight the crisis. Blinken called on other countries to follow suit.

“Some countries that can do more are among the countries that do the least,” he said. “It needs to be changed. Regardless of what countries have done so far, each country is called upon to do more.”

Blinken also called for the renewal of the July agreement on the supply of Ukrainian grain.

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