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Global Climate Context of the Ukraine War (June 2022)

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• The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces has far reaching consequences for food security across areas of the globe geographically very far from the conflict location, given that both countries are major producers of key agricultural commodities.

• On the climate front, unusual features are coming into play that can interact in many ways with the consequences of the Ukraine War, lingering pandemic effects and protracted conflict situations and either lead or aggravate major humanitarian crisis.

• Recent global climate features have been driven by two back-to-back La Niña events that started in late 2020 and which may extend into a third consecutive one, lasting until early 2023, according to latest forecasts, something that has only happened twice in the last 75 years.

• Many of the climate events we see being played out across the globe since late 2020 are typical of La Niña seasons, such as the 4 consecutive dry seasons in Horn of Africa, dryness across Europe, Maghreb and the Middle East, tropical storms across Southern Africa, though their persistence and extent may be unusual. A third La Niña may see the same broad patterns repeating themselves for another year, in same places intensifying what are already humanitarian catastrophes.

• Parts of the Horn of Africa (Somalia, eastern Kenya and southeast Ethiopia) are now likely to endure a fifth drought season in a row in late 2022 – the devastation of pastoralist livelihoods will be felt for years as livestock herds take years to rebuild, while the impacts of severe food insecurity and starvation will be felt in the long term.

• Besides the features consistent with La Niña patterns, climate variability has thrown up features that translate into critical hazards with major humanitarian implications – the severe multi-year drought in parts of Madagascar and a protracted landscapetransforming flood event in South Sudan are two examples of long-lived hazard events that may well last beyond the current La Niña and its potential follow-up.

• This report covers the recent impacts of the first La Niña and provides an outlook for the likely impacts of the current one and scenarios for a third one. After a global overview, details are provided in detail for each WFP region, highlighting countries where the situation is of greatest concern.