The heads of some of the world’s largest banks and lenders met in Washington D.C, the US’ political capital, to discuss various ways in which fiscal resources can be pumped into organisations and programmes to ensure that food production increases and economies are stimulated despite the impacts of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
The heads of the World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) and World Trade Organization (WTO) also called on the international community to deploy financial support to households in vulnerable countries, facilitate unhindered trade, and invest in sustainable food production and nutrition security.
“The rise in food prices is exacerbated by a dramatic increase in the cost of natural gas, a key ingredient of nitrogenous fertilizer. Surging fertilizer prices along with significant cuts in global supplies have important implications for food production in most countries, including major producers and exporters, who rely heavily on fertilizer imports. The increase in food prices and supply shocks can fuel social tensions in many of the affected countries, especially those that are already fragile or affected by conflict,” a joint statement read.
“It is critical to quickly provide support for food insecure countries in a coordinated manner. We stand ready to work together with our multilateral and bilateral partners to help countries address this urgent crisis.”
The aftermath of Ukraine’s war is adding to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, which is now in its third year, as climate change, growing fragility, and violence continue to harm people all across the world, according to the statement. Supply shortages and sharply rising prices for commodities are putting pressure on households around the world, forcing millions more into poverty. The threat is highest for the poorest countries with a large share of consumption from food imports, but vulnerability is increasing rapidly in middle-income countries, which host the majority of the world’s poor.
According to World Bank estimates, every 1% increase in food costs pushes 10 million people into extreme poverty around the world.
” We are committed to combining our expertise and financing to quickly step up our policy and financial support to help vulnerable countries and households as well as to increase domestic agricultural production in, and supply to, impacted countries. We can mitigate balance of payments pressures and work with all countries to keep trade flows open. In addition, we will further reinforce our monitoring of food vulnerabilities and are quickly expanding our multi-faceted policy advice to affected countries guided by the comparative advantages of our respective institutions.”