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Remarks by the Secretary-General on the launch of the second report of the Global Crisis Response Group [as delivered] – World

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, thank you very much for your presence.

Let me start by also thanking Rebeca Grynspan and the Global Crisis Response Group for this latest brief on how the war in Ukraine, in all its dimensions, is affecting people around the world.

Today’s report makes clear that the impact of war on food security, energy and finance is systemic, severe and accelerating.

It amplifies the consequences of the many other crises facing the world: climate, Covid-19 and severe global inequalities in the resources available for recovery from the pandemic.

Three months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we face a new reality.

For those on the ground, each day brings new bloodshed and new suffering.

And for people around the world, war, combined with other crises, threatens to unleash an unprecedented wave of hunger and misery, leaving social and economic chaos in its wake.

Vulnerable people and vulnerable countries are already being hit hard, but make no mistake: no country or community will be spared from this cost of living crisis.

Food prices are at near record highs. Fertilizer prices have more than doubled, sounding the alarm everywhere.

Without fertilizer, shortages will spread from corn and wheat to all staple crops, including rice, with a devastating impact on billions of people in Asia and South America as well.

This year’s food crisis is linked to lack of access. Next year could be all about lack of food.

Record energy prices are also causing blackouts and fuel shortages in all parts of the world, especially in Africa.

And the financial pressure continues on many developing countries – on top of the risk of default and economic collapse due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the uneven recovery and the climate crisis.

Worldwide, three out of five workers earn less than before the pandemic.

Now countries and individuals have no hope of balancing their budgets.

Instead, families all over the world are being forced to make impossible decisions: whether or not to close their business; sell their livestock; or withdraw their children from school.

Women and girls are often the last to eat and the first to miss meals as food shortages spread.

The number of severely food insecure people has doubled over the past two years.

The World Food Program estimates that the ripple effects of war could increase the number of people facing severe food insecurity by 47 million in 2022.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In reality, there is only one way to stop this brewing storm: the Russian invasion of Ukraine must stop.

Death and destruction must stop.

A political solution must be found in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations.
But until that happens, we need immediate action on two fronts.

First, we need to stabilize world food and energy markets to break the vicious cycle of rising prices and relieve developing countries.

Ukraine’s food production, as well as the food and fertilizers produced by Russia, must be brought back to world markets – despite the war. I asked Rebeca Grynspan and my humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, to coordinate two working groups to help find a comprehensive agreement that allows for the safe and secure export of Ukrainian food products through the Black Sea, and unhindered access to world markets for the Russians. food and fertilizer.

This agreement is essential for hundreds of millions of people in developing countries, including in sub-Saharan Africa.
Rebeca and Martin worked closely with all parties to get things done. Over the past ten days, they have had direct contact with Moscow, Kyiv, Ankara, Brussels and Washington.

At this point, to say anything more in public would jeopardize the chances of success, and I ask for your understanding.

This is one of those times when silent diplomacy is needed – and the well-being of millions around the world could depend on it.

Second, we must immediately make resources available to help the poorest countries and communities.

Governments must be able to borrow the money they need to keep their economy afloat and their people prosper.

There is no solution to this global crisis without a solution to the economic crisis in the developing world.
The global financial system must overcome its shortcomings and use all the instruments at its disposal, with flexibility and understanding, to provide support to vulnerable countries and populations.

The message of today’s report is clear and compelling: we must act now to save lives and livelihoods in the months and years to come.

It will take global action to solve this global crisis.

We have to start today.