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UN General Assembly Issues: War in Europe, Inflation, Climate Change | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Inflation, war, climate headline at UN General Assembly

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

As high-level week at UNGA gets underway, that's United Nations General Assembly, what is top of mind for visiting world leaders?

I don't know. How about war on the ground in Europe? How about massive inflation happening in food prices and energy prices around the world? How about how the Europeans get through a very cold winter and what happens as a consequence of that when they don't have enough energy, and prices are like two, three, four, five times what they were last year? How about climate change ongoing and still becoming a bigger and bigger problem every year? Lots to talk about at UNGA, depends on who you talk to though. Depends on who you talk to.

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Reuters

Shortages reach far beyond food

The war in Ukraine is just the latest crisis to befall global supply chains in recent years, and it appears likely to get worse before it finally eases. It’s not just about interrupted flows, shortages, and higher prices for food and fuel. According to a report published in May 2022 by Dun & Bradstreet, a total of at least 615,000 businesses operating globally depend on supplies from either Russia or Ukraine. About 90% of those firms are based in the United States, but supply chains in Europe, China, Canada, Australia, and Brazil are heavily impacted. According to the report, a total of 25 countries have a high dependency on Russia and Ukraine for a variety of commodities.

Five months into the war, it’s clear that the likeliest outcome of the current fighting will be a long-term stalemate. Russia doesn’t appear militarily strong enough to take and hold all of Ukraine, and Ukraine doesn’t appear strong enough to drive Russian troops completely off Ukrainian land. As a result, those who depend on resources and production inputs from Russia and Ukraine now know they’ll likely need to invest in new suppliers of hundreds of different commodities and products – from sunflower seeds to turbojets – to build better resilience into their supply chains, rather than simply waiting for the fighting to end.

Paige Fusco

Food prices are falling: that’s good news, right? Right?

Don’t look now, but one of the worst stories in the world is actually getting better. Slightly.

You’ve doubtless seen a lot about — and probably experienced — soaring global food prices in recent months. The pandemic drove up prices, and the war in Ukraine sent them to dizzying heights. Close to a billion people slid closer to famine and poverty.

Well, global food prices are actually falling now. In fact, they’ve been on their way down for several months.

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From left to right, the presidents of Russia (Vladimir Putin), Iranian (Ebrahim Raisi), and Turkey (Recep Tayyip Erdogan) hold talks in Tehran.

utnik/Sergei Savostyanov/Pool via REUTERS

What We're Watching: Tehran trilateral, EU food jitters, Sri Lankan presidential vote

Putin, Raisi & Erdogan in Tehran: friends with differences

Leaving the former Soviet region for the first time since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Tehran on Tuesday with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts. The conflict in Syria, where Russia and Iran are on the opposite side of Turkey, was the main item on the agenda, but little of substance was announced beyond a pledge to rid the country of terrorist groups and to meet again later this year. Importantly, Turkey’s recent threat to invade northern Syria to destroy Kurdish militant groups based there still hangs in the air — a point underscored by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call for Russia and Iran to be more “supportive” of Turkey’s security concerns. Still, both Moscow and Tehran have warned him against an invasion. Putin and Erdogan also failed to close the remaining gaps on a UN-backed plan to restart Ukraine’s seaborne grain exports. Lastly, while Putin and the Iranians traded shots at NATO and the West, there was no public mention of the current, fast-fading efforts to revive the long-stalled 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

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Why Do The World's Poorest Pay More For The Same Food? | Pula's Thomas Njeru | GZERO Media

Why do the world's poorest pay more for the same food?

Smallholder farmers in developing countries currently produce about 30% of the world's food. But they are way less productive than large-scale farmers in the developed world.

Thomas Njeru, who knows a thing or two about smallholder farming because he grew up on a small farm in his native Kenya before co-founding a micro-insurance firm for smallholders, says boosting the productivity of smallholders could up global food output by 30% — more than enough to cover the 10% deficit we now face.

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We’ve Reached Peak Global Food Inflation, Says IFPRI Expert David Laborde | GZERO Media

We've reached peak global food inflation, says IFPRI expert

Global food prices have been going through the roof over the past few months — but there's some good news on the horizon.

Weather permitting, the prices of key commodities like wheat are now almost back to their levels before Russia invaded Ukraine, David Laborde, a senior fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, said during a livestream discussion on the global food crisis hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Putin attends a meeting with Senegal's President and African Union chair Macky Sall in Sochi.

REUTERS

Are the West’s efforts to isolate Russia doomed?

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US and Europe have launched a concerted campaign to punish Russia economically and isolate it politically. The West wants to send a strong message to other powers that might be tempted to violate the so-called rules-based international order. But many developing countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America are reluctant to go along, blunting the effectiveness of this campaign. We spoke to Eurasia Group expert Christopher Garman to better understand the reasons for their skepticism, and what the consequences are likely to be.

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Marcos attends a news conference at his headquarters in Manila.

REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

What We're Watching: Marcos inauguration, Indian religious tensions, risotto shortage

Will Marcos 2.0 be kind to the Philippine media?

Weeks after winning the election in a landslide, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (aka Bongbong, or more recently BBM) will be inaugurated on Thursday as president of the Philippines. He has a lot on his plate, including uniting — as he promised repeatedly during the campaign — a country deeply divided over the legacy of his father, the late dictator. One issue that'll surely pop up soon is how he'll handle the media, which was heavily censored under the elder Marcos’ martial law. On Tuesday, the Philippine SEC ordered the shutdown of Rappler, the news site run by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, a vocal critic of outgoing strongman President Rodrigo Duterte. BBM will also face pressure to return a broadcast franchise to ABS-CBN, the country's biggest network, which Duterte canceled in early 2020 (and Marcos' dad also took off the air entirely in the 1980s). Supporters say Marcos 2.0 wants to kick off his presidency with a charm offensive to appease his enemies, but he may have more of a problem with his most powerful friend. Overturning two of Duterte's most controversial decisions would not go down well with the famously pugnacious outgoing leader — whose feisty daughter is … Marcos’s VP.

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