UN chief Guterres warns of worsening Russia, Ukraine war impact on world

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that the consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine are worsening for the world, with probably 1.6 billion people affected.

NEW YORK – United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are worsening for the world, with probably 1.6 billion people affected.

“The impact of war on food security, energy and finance is systemic, severe and accelerating,” the Secretary-General said at the launch of the second UN report on the impact of conflict.

He added that “for people everywhere, war threatens to unleash an unprecedented wave of hunger and misery, leaving social and economic chaos in its wake.”

António Guterres said that while this year’s food crisis is about “lack of access”, the next could be about “food shortages”.

“There is only one way to stop this brewing storm: the Russian invasion of Ukraine must stop,” he said in a speech.

The head of the global body said he had asked his colleagues to help him find “a comprehensive agreement that would allow safe export of food produced in Ukraine across the Black Sea and unhindered access to world markets for Russian food and fertilizers”.

“This agreement is essential for hundreds of millions of people in developing countries, including in sub-Saharan Africa,” said António Guterres.

The UN report, led by diplomat Rebeca Grynspan, says around 94 countries, representing around 1.6 billion people, are “severely exposed to at least one dimension of the crisis and unable to cope”.

“Of these 1.6 billion, 1.2 billion, or three quarters, live in ‘perfect storm’ countries which are highly exposed and vulnerable to the three dimensions of finance, food and energy in same time,” she added.

According to the report, the war could increase the number of food insecure people from 47 million in 2022 to 323 million by the end of the year.

It is estimated that up to 58 million more Africans could fall into poverty this year, the document adds.

Extreme poverty in the Middle East and North Africa could increase by 2.8 million people by 2022, according to the report, while 500 million people are at risk in South Asia.

“Concrete efforts must be made to ensure that essential food and energy supplies reach the most vulnerable,” the report said.

  • AFP
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