Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance
The war in Ukraine, in all its dimensions, is producing alarming cascading effects to a world economy already battered by COVID-19 and climate change, with particularly dramatic impacts on developing countries. The world’s most vulnerable people can not become collateral damage.
A three dimensional crisis
Prices of food, energy, and fertilizer are skyrocketing, given the leading role of Russia and Ukraine in these markets, increasing risks of instability and unrest around the world. The Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance (GCRG) will support developed and developing countries faced with this three dimensional crisis.
The GCRG will help decision makers to mobilize solutions and develop strategies and recommendations to help all countries, including the most vulnerable, to weather the interlinked crises. Preliminary analysis suggest that as many as 1.7 billion people in 107 economies are exposed to at least one of three risks – food, energy and finance.
Chair of the Global Crisis Response Group
The war in Ukraine has a ripple effect on the world’s food, energy and finance sectors. Because of the impact on these sectors, the conflict risks tipping up to 1.7 billion people — over one-fifth of humanity — into poverty, destitution and hunger.
Both Ukraine and Russia are global players on agricultural commodities that are essential for food security, such as wheat, barely, corn & sunflower oil and seeds. The conflict in Ukraine has had immediate effects on world food markets.
Driven by soaring prices the FAO Food Price Index has averaged almost 160 points in March, up almost 13 per cent from February when it had already reached its highest level since its inception in 1990. Beyond keeping markets open and ensuring that food is not subjected to export restrictions, the brief urges the prompt provision of funds for humanitarian food assistance. Food producers, who face higher input and transport costs, urgently need support for the next growing season.
The significant increase in energy prices and plans to release strategic reserves of fossil fuels may lead to investment back into extractive industries and fossil fuel-based energy generation, running the risk of reversing the trend towards renewables. It can also accelerate the transition towards alternative sources of energy, especially in countries that wish to strengthen their energy resilience. Such sources are less impacted by market fluctuations, is the cheapest option in most cases, and will allow the progressive phase-out of coal and all other fossil fuels.
We are on the brink of a global debt crisis. Even before the start of this crisis devel- oping countries spent on average 16% of their export earnings in servicing their debt obligations, with Small Island Developing States spending more than twice this figure. The brief asks the international financial system, including G20 countries and development banks, to provide flexible, urgent, and sufficient funding for particularly least developed countries, and relief from debt servicing under current conditions.
“We are now facing a perfect storm that threatens to devastate the economies of developing countries. The people of Ukraine cannot bear the violence being inflicted on them. And the most vulnerable people around the globe cannot become collateral damage in yet another disaster for which they bear no responsibility.”
“We have a clear moral duty to support them, everywhere,”
— António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General
Champions of the Global Crisis Response Group
Six eminent world leaders will champion and support the Secretary-General’s call for immediate action to avert the looming crisis. As the Champions of the Group, they will advocate and facilitate global consensus on actions to prevent, mitigate and respond to the crisis.
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Prime Minister of Barbados
Prime Minister of Denmark
Chancellor of Germany
President of Indonesia
President of Senegal
Deputy-Secretary-General leading the Steering Committee
Background of the Group
The 32-member Group ensures high-level political leadership to get ahead of the immense inter-connected challenges of food security, energy, and financing, and implement a coordinated global response to the ongoing crises.
GCRG Task Team
Within the Group, three workstreams on Food, Energy and Finance will collate data and generate analysis, policy recommendations and solutions to support decision-making and advocacy for consideration of the Steering Committee. These workstreams will remain flexible and responsive to opportunities that seek to resolve immediate crisis and the vulnerabilities of people and countries. This Task Team is coordinated by Rebeca Grynspan.
Video: Crisis Response Group addresses global reverberations of Ukraine war
Co-leads of the workstreams
Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa
Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme
Strategic Director, Skills Systems and Synergies for Sustainable Development
Dean of the Fletcher School Tufts University
Special Representative of the Secretary-General Sustainable Energy for All