Ireland’s UN envoy tells assembly of hunger due to Ukraine war

Millions set to suffer as a result of disruption to harvest, planting and global supply chains

About 47 million additional people may experience acute hunger in 2022 as a result of Russia's aggression in Ukraine, Ireland has told the United Nations Security Council.

In a presentation to a meeting on conflict and hunger on Thursday, Ireland's Ambassador to the UN Geraldine Byrne Nason said that Ukraine and Russia were "critical" to global food systems.

“What we are witnessing now is a major disruption to harvest, planting and supply chains for essential foods and materials. What we are witnessing now is the direct and indirect acceleration of hunger for tens of millions of people. Collateral damage of an unwarranted, unwanted war.”

Ms Byrne Nason said more than 139 million people across the world were already suffering the consequences of conflict-induced hunger.


She pointed to the situation in Yemen, Ethiopia, Somalia, Syria and Haiti. "To put it simply, conflict-induced food insecurity continues to rise, and rise, and rise," she said.

Ms Byrne Nason suggested the war in Ukraine would lead to this problem getting worse.

She said “the Russian Federation’s illegal, unjustified invasion of Ukraine had caused immeasurable suffering in Ukraine and had also led to a dramatic surge in food, fertiliser and energy prices. The impact of Russia’s actions extends far beyond Ukraine’s sovereign borders.”

Indeed, it reverberates across the globe; 47 million additional people may experience acute hunger in 2022 as a result of Russia’s aggression.”

‘Sound the alarm’

Ms Byrne Nason said Ireland would “continue to sound the alarm” on the issue of conflict and hunger.

“How many lives will be lost before we in this house wake up to the terrible, costly impact of conflict What’s needed now, as ever, is for all of us to get on with it and do our job: to prevent conflict before it begins. To end conflicts before they result in hunger and to hold to account those who use hunger as a weapon of war. “

She said hunger was not an abstract idea in Ireland.

“Our own famine, which was 175 years ago, has left a remarkable echo, profoundly shaping our outlook and demographics to this day in Ireland. As a nation, we are repulsed at the notion of death through starvation. Our conviction, born of that lived experience, is that in a world of plenty, there can be no excuse for famine today.”

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent