TELFS, Austria – The Group of Seven Nations on Tuesday pledged to spend $4.5 billion to tackle a global food crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The pledge came as leaders of the world’s major developed economies, including President Joe Biden, concluded a three-day summit in Germany aimed at supporting Kiev and fighting Moscow.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war has also sparked a growing global food crisis that has affected vulnerable people from the Middle East to the Horn of Africa, with the United States and its allies accusing the Kremlin of deliberately using hunger as weapon.
Of the total committed by the G-7, the US will pledge $2.76 billion from the aid package for Ukraine approved by Congress earlier this year, a senior US administration official said. The funding will support efforts in more than 47 countries and regional organizations.
“Putin’s actions were the core and the thing from which you can draw a direct line to all the vulnerabilities that we see around the world in terms of food security,” the official said. “His actions have strangled food and agricultural production and used food as a weapon of war.”
Of the US funds, $2 billion will go to immediate direct humanitarian interventions and $760 million will be used to help improve the resilience and productivity of the global food system, the official said.
“We, the leaders of the G-7, will do everything we can to increase global food and nutrition security and protect the most vulnerable, who are most likely to hit the food crisis the hardest,” the leaders said in a statement on Tuesday. .
Although the leaders said tackling food shortages was a top priority at the meeting, they had no solution to get Ukraine’s grain out of the country. “We are working on it,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said when leaders were asked about a plan by a reporter.
Ukraine is a major supplier of wheat, corn and sunflower oil to many of the world’s poorest countries, but food exports from the country have come to a standstill due to a Russian blockade of ports on the Black Sea and the destruction of agricultural facilities and equipment.
That has led to an increase in prices for those commodities, making them unattainable for many lower-income countries. The United States Agency for International Development estimates As a result of the war in Ukraine, 750,000 people worldwide are directly at risk of starvation.
In recent weeks there have been widespread protests around the world against skyrocketing food prices. In Ecuador, protests against rising food and fuel prices have banned the country’s capital for weeks and threatened to remove the president.
The food security pledge came as G-7 leaders concluded their summit on Tuesday, while Biden was en route to a NATO summit in Madrid.
The meeting focused heavily on coordinating the countries’ aid to Ukraine and efforts to pressure Russia to end the conflict.
But China was also a key focus for the group during the three days of meetings, the US official said. In the group’s communiqué released later today, the leaders will address the “damage caused by China’s non-transparent, market-disrupting industrial guidelines,” the official said.
“Leaders will commit to work together to develop a coordinated approach to remedy the non-market practices in China and help ensure a level playing field for businesses and workers,” the official said.
The leaders will also address forced labor practices in China and “debt traps” created by China’s infrastructure in lower-income countries, the official said.