The supply disruption caused by the war in Ukraine, with Black Sea ports blockaded, is driving up prices, creating shortages and the risk of famine.
Achim Steiner, the administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), tells us that the world is not prepared for what’s ahead: “We are in trouble. The war in Ukraine is dramatic in so many ways. There is an acute crisis in food, fuel and finance. As of today there is no reason to believe this is a short term challenge.
We are in the middle of a series of unfolding crises and the world is not prepared for it.
Hunger, Steiner said, was probably the one thing that got people on the streets because once people found they couldn’t afford to feed their families they lost faith in government.
“What we saw in Sri Lanka we are likely to see in more and more countries.”
Steiner said 200 million people were facing acute hunger, double the figure of five years ago. “This is very serious”, he said. Higher energy prices - another consequence of the Ukraine war - were causing balance of payments problems for many developing countries. “Wealthier nations have a decision to make. Are they going to step up or do they let things drift on.”