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Hunger fallout: How the G7 can prevent the war in Ukraine from escalating the global hunger crisis

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Executive summary

The devastating impact of the war in Ukraine is being felt by crisis-affected communities around the world. People living in low-income, food import-dependent countries already impacted by conflict, COVID-19 and climate change are now suffering from the ripple effects of food supply chain disruptions, skyrocketing food prices and rising inflation.

Drawing on the IRC’s work in food insecure contexts, this report outlines how the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine are compounding a pre-existing hunger crisis, and how the G7 and wider international community can prevent the war from pushing other vulnerable communities closer to famine.

A hunger fallout

In March 2022, G7 Agriculture Ministers expressed concern over the implications of the war in Ukraine for food security worldwide. Ukraine and Russia are major global suppliers of energy, food and fertilisers to some of the world’s most food insecure regions (see Table 1).
Disruption to Ukrainian supply chains, coupled with export restrictions, have caused prices of essential commodities to rise sharply. With limited fiscal capacity and reserves, these crisis-affected regions are unable to mitigate the inflationary impact on their populations.

The result is a devastating hunger fallout: up to 47 million more people are projected to experience acute hunger in 2022 unless urgent action is taken, up from 276 million people pre-conflict.

Protracted crises at risk of deterioration

As the international community rushes to respond to the war in Ukraine, protracted crises in other parts of the world risk being overlooked. Already underfunded humanitarian appeals are predicted to go unfulfilled in 2022 as vital humanitarian and development assistance budgets are slashed, and there are indications of a trend toward the reallocation of aid funding to the Ukraine response, which risks becoming more acute.

Spotlights on four pre-existing crises – Afghanistan, Yemen, the Horn of Africa and the Sahel – illustrate the immediate and long-term impacts of increases in food prices and supply interruptions resulting from the war in Ukraine. Further shortfalls in humanitarian funding and political attention will significantly worsen hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity in these regions, particularly for women, children and other vulnerable groups.