UN teams around the world brace up to support authorities to tackle impacts of Ukraine crisis
18 March 2022
Rise in food, fuel, fertilizer prices and lower remittances among the most immediate effects
18 March, 2022 - With devastating effects on the Ukrainian people, infrastructure and economy, the war in Ukraine will also potentially have far-reaching impacts on sustainable development globally. This was a key message today at a high-level conference on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, noting dire impacts already being felt globally.
Top UN leaders reiterated the call for peace. “This war is senseless, and it must stop now,” said Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator.
Speaking from Ukraine, UN Crisis Coordinator Amin Awad said this war has created unprecedented humanitarian challenges that continue to rise. From Lviv, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Osnat Lubrani stressed that the UN is working on a joint response to integrate long-term development needs with the immediate humanitarian response. She flagged that the World Food Programme plans to assist over 3 million internally displaced people in the country, with nutrition remaining a big problem. Water and sanitation have either been partially or completely destroyed, with dramatic immediate and long-term socioeconomic impacts.
Ms. Lubrani highlighted a recent UN Development Programme report, which estimates that 90% of the Ukrainian population could be facing poverty and extreme economic vulnerability should the war deepen, setting the country – and the region – back decades and leaving deep social and economic scars for generations to come. For its part, the International Monetary Fund calculates up to 35 per cent loss in GDP by the end of the year.
Social and economic impacts are also felt in neighbouring countries and beyond, the UN’s Development Coordination Office Assistant Secretary-General Robert Piper highlighted. He said that UN Resident Coordinators in over 100 countries have shared preliminary impacts on sustainable development.
In Central Asia, where economies are highly dependent on remittance payments from Russia, the crisis is likely to bring financial instability and impact lives and livelihoods there.
In the Middle East and North Africa and around world, the rise in food, fuel and fertilizer prices will likely have a ripple effect.
Our UN teams are rapidly scaling up their support to the authorities to address these challenges, in the immediate and long-term. Piper added that while it is too early for predictions, which also depend on the duration of the war, the debt burden, energy transition, and spike in food and fuel prices are of great concern. “The development system has implemented the lessons learned from the COVID-19 response at the global level and is exploring new modalities and a rapid response mechanism on the socioeconomic front,” he said.
Secretary-General António Guterres announced the establishment of a UN-wide Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance, led by Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, through an inter-agency steering committee and a range of partners. “Make no mistake: everyday people, especially women and children, will bear the brunt of this unfolding tragedy,” he added.
10 Impacts on the Sustainable Development Goals:
Rising food and fertilizer prices will exacerbate poverty, hunger, malnutrition levels and worsen income inequality
Economic recovery from the pandemic replaced with worries of stagflation [economic stagnation and high inflation], especially among Eastern Europe, Caucus and Central Asian economies, with increased debt burden in developing countries
Increased energy prices (gas and oil) with increased dependence on coal can potentially slow down the transition to clean energy, especially in Europe
Potential social unrest and political upheaval from inflation and economic fallout
Potential Overseas Development Assistance re-orientation, drop in remittances, tourism and Foreign Direct Investments can result in reductions in SDG financing in countries
Climate action may face further headwinds due to supply-chain constraints and potential reduction in climate finance
The commodity super-cycle, while benefiting commodity producers, will reduce incentives for economic diversification and could accentuate negative environmental impacts
Trade and supply chain woes to continue with increased transport prices and reduced supply of seafarers
Refugee crisis in Europe and worry of another COVID-19 wave in Europe
Financial market and exchange rate volatility in some countries. Increased risk of alternate payment/banking systems and crypto sector, which can hamper ability to fight tax avoidance and illicit financial flows
To learn more about the UN's work in Ukraine, please visit: Ukraine.UN.org.