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The Ukraine War Goes Global

The Russia-Ukraine conflict risks inflicting extensive collateral damage on many developing economies that were already struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and cope with the effects of climate change. How should governments rethink their economic and environmental priorities in order to soften the blow?

In this Big Picture, Jayati Ghosh of the University of Massachusetts Amherst says multilateral organizations should provide financing to help poorer economies cope with energy and food-price shocks, and back regulations to prevent speculation in key markets. Similarly, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, explains why international cooperation and transparency are key to mitigating the Ukraine war’s impact on food supply and prices.

But soaring global commodity prices are far from the only damaging economic consequence of the conflict. Hippolyte Fofack, chief economist at the African Export-Import Bank, warns that the unprecedented Western-led sanctions on Russia, beyond dampening output and causing already high inflation to spike further, are heightening the risk of a broader financial crisis.

As if that weren’t bad enough, Nick Butler of King’s College London argues that governments mindful of rising energy prices will likely assign a significantly lower priority to expensive green policies aimed at combating climate change. And the University of Oxford’s Giulio Boccaletti explains why the modern environmental movement, which has long taken the rules-based international order for granted, must now reconsider its core principles in light of Russia’s war of aggression.

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