Leaders’ Coalition: Urgent action needed for food security

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NEW YORK (TBEN) – Leaders from Europe, America and Africa on Tuesday called for urgent action and funding to alleviate a growing global food security crisis that has been exacerbated by Russia’s war with Ukraine and, thanks to climate change, threatens to worsen in coming years.

Speaking at a Global Food Security Summit on the sidelines of the UN’s annual General Assembly, leaders demanded an end to the war, calling it all an unnecessary “aggression” and the Spanish Prime Minister accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to “blackmail” the world starving by causing serious disruptions in the export of Ukrainian grain.

The leaders also held Russia accountable for spreading misinformation about the destination of Ukrainian grain shipped from the Black Sea under a UN-brokered Turkey deal.

“Russia must end its illegal war against Ukraine, which has certainly been an essential source of food supply in the world,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told the meeting. “The truth is that Putin is trying to blackmail the international community with much 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.”

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Last week, the UN food chief warned that the world is facing “a global emergency of unprecedented proportions,” with up to 345 million people marching towards starvation — and 70 million being brought closer to starvation as a result of the war in Ukraine. David Beasley, executive director of the UN World Food Programme, told the UN Security Council that the number is 2½ times the number of acutely food insecure people before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020 and that there is a real risk of “multiple famines” this year. year.

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“This is not acceptable. This is not sustainable,” said European Commission President Charles Michel. “Russia’s war against the Ukrainian people is a test – a test of our international rules-based order.”

Along with Sanchez, Senegalese President Macky Sall, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Colombian President Gustavo Petro and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken were on hand to replace President Joe Biden. Michel opened the event by shouting what he believes were Russia’s lies about Ukrainian grain not reaching countries that need it most.

“Contrary to Russian misinformation, this food ends up in Africa, the Middle East and Asia,” he said.

“We should not believe Russia’s disinformation,” Scholz reiterated. “Evidence clearly shows that most of the grain exports facilitated go to developing and emerging countries and have global implications for grain availability and prices.”

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He said next year may be even more difficult as the food shortage will be exacerbated by a lack of fertilizers, something Sall said was of particular concern for African countries.

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

“Some countries with the capacity to do more are among those that do the least,” he said. “That has to change. Whatever countries have done so far, each country is being called upon to do more.”

Blinken also called for an extension of the July agreement on the shipments of Ukrainian grain.