March 2, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the President’s State of the Union Address, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) today outlined the urgency for America to lead the world by committing critical new emergency resources to confront an array of acute global crises, starting with Ukraine. USGLC President and CEO Liz Schrayer issued the following statement:
As the President underscored last night, today’s complex and growing global threats – starting with Ukraine – make it all too clear that America must continue to step up with new emergency resources to protect our interests and values.
We are pleased that the Administration is working with bipartisan Members of Congress to support urgent humanitarian, economic, and security needs stemming from the Ukraine crisis. Without question, Putin’s unprovoked invasion is costing innocent lives, creating an escalating humanitarian emergency of 800,000 and growing Ukrainian refugees, and impacting America’s economic recovery. America must act swiftly to provide urgent humanitarian and economic support to the Ukrainian people and neighboring countries in response to this worsening crisis. Doing so will directly reinforce our interests and values in support of democracy at this unprecedented moment when authoritarianism is on the march.
While Ukraine is rightly top of mind for policymakers, we cannot lose sight of the full array of urgent global threats, most notably the global pandemic that continues to wreak havoc around the world and undermine America’s health, safety, and economic recovery here at home. This pandemic does not know or care that there is a war in the heart of Europe, and despite a welcome reduction in COVID-19 cases at home only 12% of people in low-income countries are fully vaccinated. With the risk of new variants and the destabilizing impacts of the virus around the world – including a rise in conflict, hunger, migration, and authoritarianism as well as global supply chain disruptions – failure to stem the global spread of COVID-19 will have profound consequences for all Americans.
What’s it worth to Americans to not only address the crisis in Ukraine, but also meet the ongoing threat of the global pandemic and its impacts with smart, targeted emergency resources?
- A sustainable economic recovery at home. Each new COVID-19 wave is disrupting economies and industries in the United States and around the world – resulting in higher prices and greater financial hardships for American families. According to the International Monetary Fund, failure to vaccinate communities in developing countries could cost the global economy $5.3 trillion over the next five years. Continued progress in America’s economic recovery – including addressing widespread and costly supply chain disruptions – depends on the recovery of low-income countries that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.
- A safer and more secure America. The global pandemic has increased instability, fueled conflict, and exacerbated humanitarian emergencies worldwide with serious consequences for the safety and security of all Americans. In Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, the death toll from armed conflict, violent attacks, and unrest rose by 30% from 2019 to 2021. COVID-19 has exacerbated fragility even more, including global hunger which has reached its highest levels in over a decade and now a staggering 45 million people are on the brink of famine across 43 countries.
To date, of the trillions of dollars in emergency funding appropriated by Congress to address COVID-19 – only 0.34% have been for the global response. While these resources have been essential to advance global vaccination efforts, mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance, they are woefully inadequate to meet this ongoing global threat.
Global health experts have highlighted at least $17 billion in emergency resource needs to achieve global vaccination targets and delivery and to save lives. But we would be naïve to see this only as a global health crisis. World Food Program chief David Beasley has highlighted the catastrophic levels of acute hunger as just one of the growing humanitarian and development crises triggered or exacerbated by COVID-19. Humanitarian experts have also identified nearly $6 billion to address acute needs, particularly to prevent mass starvation, stem growing refugee crises, and support the most vulnerable.
Now is the time for Congress and the Administration to take swift and decisive action by providing meaningful new emergency resources — ideally in the final FY22 spending package — to support the Ukrainian people, save lives and combat the global pandemic, and respond to acute global hunger and other humanitarian crises. Time is of the essence.
The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (www.usglc.org) is a broad-based influential network of 500 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic, military, and community leaders in all 50 states who support strategic investments to elevate development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.