The World Trade Organisation (WTO) says the war in Ukraine has created immense human suffering and was putting the fragile recovery of global trade at risk.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the WTO Director-General said the most immediate impact of the Russian invasion had been a sharp rise in commodity prices.
“Smaller supplies and higher prices for food means that the world’s poor could be forced to do without.
“This must not be allowed to happen,” Okonjo-Iweala, warned on Tuesday.
Okonjo-Iweala urged governments to work with multilateral organisations like WTO to facilitate trade.
Both Russia and Ukraine are key suppliers of essential goods such as food, energy, and fertilizers, supplies of which are now threatened due to war crisis.
Grain shipments through Black Sea ports has paused since Russia’s invasion with possible dire consequences, particularly for poorer countries.
Okonjo-Iweala warned that there’s a substantial downside risks if war in Ukraine persists.
She, however, said the forecast are mixed and difficult to assess objectively.
“There is some upside potential if the war in Ukraine ends sooner than expected, but substantial downside risks could emerge if fighting persists for a long time or if the conflict escalates.
“In a crisis, more trade is needed to ensure stable, equitable access to necessities. Restricting trade will threaten the wellbeing of families and businesses globally,” WTO said.