The Albanian government is being urged to use its maiden speech to the United Nations to provide funding to famine-affected regions around the world.
Secretary of State Penny Wong is in New York for the 77th meeting of the UN General Assembly, where she will participate in 30 assignments during the week.
Senator Wong is expected to deliver the Australian speech to the meeting on Friday, after meeting foreign ministers from Quad countries, including the United States, India and Japan.
The war in Ukraine is central.
Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of grain and fertilizers, which have been stripped massively by the war.
Grain shortages coupled with the effects of climate change, including severe drought, have pushed countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Yemen into acute food shortages and on the brink of starvation.
A broad coalition of leading Australian aid and development organizations is calling on the government to announce a $150 million emergency package.
Help Fight Famine spokesperson Tim Costello said the package would show that Australia will not abandon starving countries.
“With a relatively small investment, we can make a huge difference in saving lives and averting a humanitarian disaster the likes of which the world has never seen,” he said.
“But if we don’t act, there could be more deaths than from COVID.
“Time is almost up.”
The US, together with European and African countries, will organize a food and security summit on the sidelines of the UN.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that while Ukraine will play a prominent role at the General Assembly, it is not the only issue under discussion.
“Other countries have expressed concern that while we are focusing on Ukraine, we are not paying attention to what is happening in other crises around the world,” she said.
“That is not the case.”