Security Council Adopts Presidential Statement Addressing Conflict-Induced Food Insecurity in Situations of Armed Conflict
In All-Day Debate, Speakers Call for Unity Tackling Global Hunger, Urge Russian Federation to Re-join Black Sea Grain Initiative
Adopting a presidential statement today, the Security Council reiterated its commitment to address conflict-induced food insecurity in situations of armed conflict during a day-long open debate on the matter, in which 80 speakers voiced alarm and urged unity to address the growing scale of food insecurity and human suffering due to conflict and violence.
By the text (to be issued as document S/PRST/2023/4), the 15-nation organ expressed concern over the growing number of armed conflicts in different geographic areas around the world. It reiterated the need to break the vicious cycle between armed conflict and food insecurity and took note that, in 2022, armed conflict was the most significant driver of high levels of acute food insecurity for roughly 117 million people in 19 countries and territories.
The Council also condemned the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, which is prohibited by international humanitarian law, and the unlawful denial of humanitarian access and depriving civilians of objects indispensable to their survival. It called on all parties to armed conflict to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.
Reena Ghelani, United Nations Famine Prevention and Response Coordinator, reported that the number of people suffering from acute food insecurity reached a quarter billion in 2022 — the highest recorded in recent years. “It is a man-made crisis that has been swelling for years. We are now at a tipping point,” she warned, stressing that conflict and insecurity remain key drivers of hunger and famine.
Each of the seven countries where people faced famine-like conditions in 2022 were affected by armed conflict or extreme levels of violence, she reported. Parties to conflict must respect international humanitarian law and the international community must make better use of existing early warning mechanisms, she stressed, underlining the need for adequate humanitarian funding and measures to address the climate and economic crises.
David Miliband, President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Rescue Committee, pointing out that once famine is declared, it is too late for too many, stressed: “We need to address the threat of famine by looking through the windshield, not through the rear-view mirror.” That the world is four times richer than it was 50 years ago yet faces more famine is not fate but a choice that will only be changed by action, he said.
Navyn Salem, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Edesia, sharing how she has seen children take their last breaths while their mothers sit by waiting for a miracle, said her company produces that “miracle” — a ready-to-use therapeutic food called Plumpy’Nut, used in the treatment of severe acute malnutrition. However, conflicts threaten to close the doors of their manufacturing partners, she reported, calling on those around the table to stand up for humanity and stop the conflicts for the children’s sake.
In the ensuing all-day debate, speakers voiced concern about the global food crisis fuelled by climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and conflict, with many highlighting that the Russian Federation’s war on Ukraine and its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative exacerbated global food insecurity. Throughout the day, that country was repeatedly called to re-join the agreement and ultimately withdraw from Ukraine.
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State of the United States and Council President for the month, speaking in his national capacity, stressed that hunger must not be weaponized. Every member of the United Nations should tell Moscow “enough using the Black Sea as blackmail, enough treating the most vulnerable people as leverage, enough of this unjustified, unconscionable war,” he said.
Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates, echoing that, said preventing food insecurity and famine is a political choice. “We saw the potential of multilateral efforts to reduce food insecurity through the establishment of the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” he pointed out. Parties to armed conflict must spare the objects necessary to produce food and drinking water and must never target civilian objects — a point made by other delegations, including Australia, also speaking for Canada and New Zealand, and Denmark, also speaking for Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Several speakers, such as those for Liechtenstein and Italy, condemned the use of starvation as a method of war, with Megi Fino, Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, also calling it “wrong and criminal”. She pointed out that Moscow’s promises to several African countries for modest amounts of free grain supplies — ridiculous compared to the actual needs — are part of its efforts to gain support in the African continent. “But beware — this kind of humanitarian charity will come with a bitter price tag,” she warned.
Ghana’s representative said: “We are bound in our experience by the strong headwinds that the aggression against Ukraine has created in our socioeconomic circumstances.” He urged the Russian Federation to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative and called on the international community and donor agencies to respond to the underfunded humanitarian response plans for African countries and prioritize response plans for countries in West Africa and the Sahel.
Algeria’s representative cautioned that if current trends continue, by 2030, nearly 670 million will suffer hunger, with Africa the most fragile region, particularly in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. This is a sad reality, as “the African continent can become the breadbasket of the world with more investment and technology transfer”, he said, echoing Ethiopia’s representative who said it is unacceptable that African people are exposed to food shortages while the continent is endowed with land, water and manpower that should be able to feed the world.
Many delegations shared national perspectives and offered solutions to the way forward with several underscoring the need for a holistic and integrated approach to build strong and resilient food systems, as well as for fulfilling obligations under international agreements, including those related to climate financing.
Both the representatives of Viet Nam and Cambodia highlighted their countries’ first-hand experience in witnessing the vital role food security plays in sustaining peace, and vice versa. Cambodia’s delegate suggested matching partners in carbon trading as a way to generate financing for adaptation activities. This includes the application of modern technology or investment in exploring whether certain food crops can serve as carbon sinks.
Brazil’s representative underlined that it is crucial to consider the structural causes of hunger, including inequalities between and within countries, barriers to food trade, unilateral sanctions, and weak or absent social protection and poverty alleviation policies. To ensure stability and continuity in food production, international attention must be given to supporting sustainable agricultural practices, developing disaster-resilient infrastructure and promoting diversified agrifood systems.
Nonetheless, Mexico’s representative stated: “It is unacceptable that, in a world of abundance, there is a constant increase in the number of people living in food insecurity.” In his region, half the population of Haiti needs food assistance, he said, stressing the importance of early warning mechanisms, and more importantly, a timely and effective response.
In that vein, Ireland, speaking for the Group of Friends of Action on Conflict and Hunger, spotlighted resolution 2417 (2018), which aimed to assist the Council in responding to situations where famine due to conflict and violence were an immediate danger. However, speaking in his national capacity, he recalled that when Council members sought proactive action, the Council failed to provide support. “If at an open debate we all lament conflict-induced hunger […], then the Security Council must do something about it,” he said, adding: “Fine words do not prevent conflicts and they certainly do not fill bellies. But action can.”
REENA GHELANI, United Nations Famine Prevention and Response Coordinator, said that while the threat of famine — people starving slowly to death — must be a red line, amid the multiple challenges the world is facing today, the number of people suffering from acute food insecurity reached a quarter billion in 2022 — the highest recorded in recent years. Some 376,000 of them were facing faminelike conditions in seven countries and another 35 million people were on the edge, with women and children the most impacted. “It is a man-made crisis that has been swelling for years. We are now at a tipping point,” she warned, stressing that conflict and insecurity remain key drivers of hunger and famine. Each of the seven countries where people faced famine-like conditions in 2022 were affected by armed conflict or extreme levels of violence, and five of those seven countries — Afghanistan, Haiti, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen — are regularly on the Security Council’s agenda.
Armed conflict destroys food systems, shatters livelihoods and drives people from their homes — leaving many extremely vulnerable and hungry — and all too often those impacts are inflicted deliberately and unlawfully, with hunger utilized as a tactic of war, she said. In 2022, dozens of humanitarian workers were killed and many more were kidnapped or injured in conflict situations, she reported, adding that humanitarian facilities and supplies also often come under attack, are looted, or used for military purposes. The difficulties the United Nations and its partners are facing in Sudan are a stark reminder, she said, offering her condolences to the families of the 11 humanitarian workers killed in Sudan in recent weeks. Food insecurity itself also fuels instability, and when coupled with pre-existing grievances, such as poverty, is “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”, often resulting in conflict. Of the 10 countries most vulnerable to climate-related risks, seven are affected by conflict, but insecurity hinders climate adaptation efforts there, she added.
Although the challenge may appear overwhelming, progress has been, and is again, possible, she emphasized, calling for redoubled efforts to prevent, reduce and end conflict in all its forms. There must be a renewed commitment to peace though a reinvigorated multilateral system where Governments, the United Nations and regional organizations work together. Outlining five things critical to reduce suffering and prevent famine, she underscored the need to ensure that parties to conflict respect international humanitarian law. The international community must make better use of existing early warning mechanisms such as resolution 2417 (2018) in a focused and effective manner, with effective follow-up and concerted action. She called for boldness and creativity in finding ways to mitigate the impact of war on the most vulnerable, emphasizing that women and girls must be at the centre of those efforts. A half-way, fragmented response to the interconnected risks will not cut it, she stressed, urging adequate humanitarian funding and measures to address the climate and economic crises.
The Secretary-General has prioritized the threat of famine and hunger, she said, noting that, among other initiatives, in 2021 he created a High-Level Task Force on Famine Prevention to lead and organize a cohesive system-wide response. Together with partners, it is in the process of reorientating that forum to provide dedicated support to countries, she said, calling on Member States for their support to that end. She recalled her visit to communities teetering on the brink of famine where she sat with mothers whose small children fought for their lives, even when they were too weak to cry or even make a sound. “That eerie silence is deafening. It never leaves you. That silence is also a call for action.” Quoting Martin Luther King in his Nobel Peace Prize lecture, she said: “Famine is wholly unnecessary in the modern world. […] There is no deficit in human resources; the deficit is human will.”
DAVID MILIBAND, President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Rescue Committee, stressed that his briefing “takes the form of a plea”: To follow 40,000 employees and volunteers in 40 countries in focusing on the solutions, not the suffering. Five years after Council resolution 2417 (2018), there is more armed conflict, more famine, more malnutrition, and more and more food insecurity. Calling for action to help the 375,000 people facing faminelike conditions at the end of 2022 and the 35 million on the brink, he noted the consensus that conflict is the primary driver of food insecurity in countries from Somalia to Haiti. The international system needs a new “muscle of taking action” to face five critical problems, beginning with addressing the statistic that 80 per cent of the world’s acutely malnourished children are not getting any treatment at all.
This is due to divided approaches between moderate and severe acute malnutrition and different United Nations agencies, with the solution “staring us in the face: a simplified system, in the hands of parents and community health workers, who use a simple upper arm circumference tape to diagnose acute malnutrition, and administer one or two doses of ready-to-use therapeutic food per day depending on whether the case is severe or moderate. The Committee’s impact evaluation of 27,000 children in Mali showed a 92 per cent success rate, with a cost savings of around 30 per cent, so more children can be reached for the same money. Further, given the proliferation of different global initiatives on famine and food insecurity, the solution is an empowered body to galvanize collective action and drive change. The High-Level Task Force on Preventing Famine led by Reena Ghelani needs support on multiple levels, he affirmed.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reports that the more fragile a context, the less money is spent on climate adaptation. “The solution is to give climate finance a humanitarian face,” he said, as adaptation is under-funded at only 8 per cent of all climate finance and geared towards richer countries. He argued that a set percentage of every adaptation fund should be directed to fragile and conflict States, with donors increasing the ratio of grants to concessional funding, for example trebling the World Bank’s International Development Assistance funds. On impunity in conflict, he called for perpetrators to be held to account. All nine countries at risk of famine in 2023 rank high, very high or extreme in levels of humanitarian access constraints. He proposed an independent Office for the Protection of Humanitarian Access, which would ensure that when combatants deny aid, this information is reported to this Council.
On funding, he noted the World Food Programme (WFP) is cutting its life-saving food assistance — sometimes up to half — because it does not have enough money. The solution is not complex. “We need to address the threat of famine by looking through the windshield, not through the rear-view mirror,” he stressed. Once famine is declared, it is too late for too many. Anticipatory action depends on cash being available, “and today, it is not”. Quoting Nobel laureate Amartya Sen that “starvation is the characteristic of not having enough food to eat” and not the lack of food, he noted that 50 years later, the world is four times richer, but there is more famine. “That is not fate. It is a choice,” he stressed, a choice that will only be changed by action. Civil society does not lack ideas for which actions to take. “What we need is the will to enable them to happen,” he stated.
NAVYN SALEM, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Edesia, said that she has seen children take their last breaths and watched their hearts stop beating while their mothers sit by, waiting for a miracle. Her company produces that “miracle”, a ready-to-use therapeutic food called Plumpy’Nut, used in the treatment of severe acute malnutrition by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), WFP and the United States Agency for International Development. It is revolutionary in humanitarian settings because it delivers life-saving nutrition, is easy to distribute in complex humanitarian crises, allows mothers to treat their children at home and has the power to rehabilitate 92 per cent of children in just two months. Edesia has eight manufacturing partners in developing countries, but conflicts threaten to close the doors of these incredibly important businesses in malnutrition hotspots.
When the conflict in Sudan began a few months ago, a partner factory in Khartoum was hit by a bomb and destroyed along with thousands of Plumpy’Nut boxes waiting to be deployed to the children in that country, she said. This past week, a coup threatens a partner factory in Niger. In Haiti, violence persists at ever-increasing levels, forcing them to construct new security walls. In Ethiopia, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, instability and uncertainty are ever present. This private-sector ecosystem is a critical part of the supply chain that the United Nations agencies and children depend on. Annually, $1.7 billion is needed to feed 17 million severely malnourished children. A mere $100 per child covers the cost of a Plumpy’Nut box, distribution, access to community-based care and a chance at life. But with conflicts increasing, humanitarian partners face the impossible decision of which half of the children can live and which half will be sentenced to death.
The global donor community proved that the supply of Plumpy’Nut could be doubled in a matter of months, she noted, adding that the number of children’s lives saved was doubled, with 7.3 million children treated in 2022. This incredible effort should be recognized and celebrated. Her wish is not to grow her business but to stop producing this “miracle” food, she emphasized, because the long-term goal must be a shift towards prevention. Early nutritious interventions ensure that children will not only survive but thrive and reach their full potential. “May history look at us sitting here today around this table as the ones who stood up for humanity, understood the power of our collective leadership in this room and said, stop, just stop these conflicts, for the sake of our children,” she said. “There are many problems in this world we cannot solve, malnutrition is not one of them.”
ANTONY J. BLINKEN, Secretary of State of the United States and Council President for the month, speaking in his national capacity, said “it is easy to get caught up in numbers, statistics and big concepts, but ultimately, it comes down to people, it comes down to children”. Too many families are experiencing with overwhelming urgency the consequences of global food crisis — fuelled by climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and conflict. Hunger and conflict are inextricably linked, he said, adding that scarce resources heighten tensions between communities and nations, while warring parties weaponize food to subjugate populations. Indeed, conflict is the largest driver of food insecurity, with violence and unrest pushing 117 million people into extreme deprivation in 2022. In Sudan, fighting has driven up the cost of food. In Myanmar — where one in five people is severely undernourished — the military regime exacerbates the problem to tighten its grip, including by blocking aid convoys. In Yemen, some families have resorted to boiling leaves to stay alive — they call it “famine food”. “Unless the world acts, Burkina Faso, South Sudan and Somalia could all experience famine next year,” he warned, stressing that hunger must not be weaponized. Accordingly, he said every member of the United Nations should tell Moscow “enough using the Black Sea as blackmail, enough treating the most vulnerable people as leverage, enough of this unjustified, unconscionable war”.
NOURA AL KAABI, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates, associating herself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council, said that preventing food insecurity and famine is a political choice. In conflict, international humanitarian law is clear: parties to armed conflict must take constant care to spare the objects necessary to produce food and drinking water and they must never target civilian objects. “We saw the potential of multilateral efforts to reduce food insecurity through the establishment of the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” she added. The rise in wheat prices since the agreement came to an end is telling of the global importance of such an initiative, she continued. A spirit of ambition and global collaboration is needed to tackle a growing driver of food insecurity: climate change. July was the hottest month on record. “As such, we must see unity of purpose at the highest levels to reverse this disturbing trend by taking tangible measures to prevent the rise in temperatures above 1.5°C,” she said. Those disproportionately affected by food insecurity and climate change — in particular women and young people — must be front and centre when designing responses.
KENJI YAMADA, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, stressed that food is a basic human need and thus should not be weaponized at any time. Voicing regret about the Russian Federation’s decision to unilaterally terminate its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he called on that country to return to the United Nations international framework for the resumption of grain exports from Ukraine. The United Nations and the Council should play their roles in combating food security issues while exerting their influence and solidarity, he stressed, noting that addressing famine and conflict-induced food insecurity requires not only short-term efforts, such as emergency food assistance, but also medium- and long-term actions, such as strengthening the resilience of food systems. Detailing his country’s assistance to those suffering from famine and conflict-induced food insecurity, he said that in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, it is reported that many people are suffering from severe famine. Yet Pyongyang is spending vast resources on unlawful nuclear and missile development, he pointed out, calling on the Council to overcome its prolonged silence and take meaningful steps with a unified voice.
MEGI FINO, Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, noted that the number of people facing acute food insecurity has increased from 193 million in 2021 to 258 million in 2022, with more than a quarter of a billion people facing acute hunger in 58 countries. In 19 countries and territories, roughly 117 million people suffer from high levels of acute food insecurity due to conflict and insecurity, putting a heavy toll on humanitarian interventions and food assistance efforts. The Russian Federation’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative confirms a policy of weaponization of food and the use of famine as bargaining chip. Moscow’s promises to several African countries for modest amounts of free grain supplies — ridiculous compared to the actual needs — are part of its efforts to gain support in the African continent. “But beware — this kind of humanitarian charity will come with a bitter price tag,” she stressed. Citing resolution 2417 (2018), she stressed that using starvation as a weapon “is wrong and criminal”. The international community must never tolerate impunity for violations of international humanitarian law, targeting civilian infrastructure and food related services.
ADRIAN DOMINIK HAURI (Switzerland), stressing that “war breeds hunger and hunger breeds war”, said the global food crisis is without precedent and is destabilizing countries and regions. The phenomenon continues to worsen in Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, the Sahel, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. He therefore voiced regret over the Russian Federation’s decision to cease the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and condemned the recent attacks on Ukrainian ports, which risk further deteriorating the global situation. In this regard, respect for international humanitarian law and human rights by all parties is imperative to minimize the impact of armed conflict on the food situation. He deplored the fact that humanitarian actors such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are not always able to carry out their operations. Also, impunity — particularly for those who deliberately starve civilians as a method of warfare — must be resolutely combated, he emphasized.
SERGIO FRANÇA DANESE (Brazil) said that the best way to prevent hunger and malnutrition in the long run is to ensure that countries have the capacity to build resilient agrifood systems and markets. It is vital to consider the structural causes of hunger, including inequalities between and within countries, barriers to food trade, unilateral sanctions, and weak or absent social protection and poverty alleviation policies. To ensure stability and continuity in food production, international attention must be given to supporting sustainable agricultural practices, developing disaster-resilient infrastructure and promoting diversified agrifood systems. Even when parties to conflict comply with international humanitarian law, food systems can be disrupted by the secondary impacts of conflict. The only assured way to end conflict-induced hunger is peace.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) said that, when not used as a weapon of war, famine is very often a source of conflict and instability in fragile States. On the African continent, more than 80 per cent of people facing food insecurity live in zones affected by conflict. In several regions, particularly in the Sahel, the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa, armed and terrorist groups deliberately destroy food storage areas, burn fields and damage production infrastructure. “In these regions where instability has become chronic, children die of hunger, at the mercy of birds of prey,” he said, calling this situation “morally intolerable”. Against this backdrop, he stressed the need to invest in sustainable agriculture and long-term food security — this involves supporting smallholder farmers, improving agricultural infrastructure and promoting environmentally friendly farming practices. Further, it is crucial to strengthen early warning systems and ensure the protection of food security stocks.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) said that rising food and fuel prices have led to widespread unrest and instability, and on the African continent, where the fragilities are deep, sharp rises in food prices have often correlated with political dissatisfaction, protests and agitations that have affected political stability. “We are bound in our experience by the strong headwinds that the aggression against Ukraine has created in our socioeconomic circumstances,” he said. Ghana urges the Russian Federation to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative and calls on all parties to work constructively to ensure the renewal of the Initiative. The international community and donor agencies must respond to the underfunded humanitarian response plans for African countries and prioritize implementation of humanitarian response plans for countries in West Africa and the Sahel. The African Continental Free Trade Area can help avert future food supply chain disruptions on the continent.
VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta) said the hunger crisis is not gender neutral as women and girls often have less access and control over land, smallholder agricultural market support and humanitarian assistance. In civil conflict, humanitarian access can be denied by arbitrary and bureaucratic measures, she said, urging the United Nations to continue detailing such access impediments in their reports to the Council and in the “white notes” mandated by resolution 2417 (2018). While coordinating with the host State on such documents, the United Nations must always assert its operational independence. Expressing regret that the Russian Federation terminated its involvement in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, she urged Moscow to reconsider the dramatic impacts its decision will have. Painful past experiences have taught that efforts to avert famine are effective when the international community works together in a goal orientated manner. Alleviating acute hunger is the first step on the road to peacebuilding, she stressed.
PEDRO COMISSÁRIO AFONSO (Mozambique) said that food insecurity associated with armed conflicts prevails all over the world. “We believe cooperation and understanding between States or warring parties to extend humanitarian aid and safeguard human dignity would immensely contribute to minimizing the suffering of those populations who live the tragedy of war,” he added. Food security at the national or international level comes with peace and the will to settle disputes. In the meanwhile, to mitigate dire humanitarian situations, some actions must be taken by States, donors and organizations, including strengthening the productive capacity of concerned countries by facilitating access to production technologies. It is essential to lift all constraints, barriers and protectionist measures to the distribution chain of fertilizers and inputs. Further, he stressed the need to provide technical assistance and inclusion of groups most vulnerable to conflict in food system value chains.
ZHANG JUN (China) said the international community must uphold a common comprehensive and sustainable security concept and firmly oppose unilateral sanctions and actions that affect global food security and international cooperation, such as disrupting supply chains or the market order, or suppressing enterprises from other countries. He urged relevant countries to immediately stop such practices that lack a legal foundation and run counter to fairness and justice. Regarding the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the memorandum of understanding, he said the window of opportunity for restoring the package agreement still exists, voicing hope that all relevant parties will solve the legitimate concerns of all parties and restore the export of food and fertilizers from the Russian Federation and Ukraine as soon as possible. The international community should vigorously assist developing countries in need to enhance their resilience and increase food production, he said, detailing other key areas for action.
NATHALIE BROADHURST (France) emphasized that the Russian Federation is solely responsible for the current crisis, unilaterally and brutally ending the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which had transported food to 45 countries. That country also seeks to destroy Ukrainian production and export capacities, including by bombing port infrastructure, aiming to reduce Ukraine’s income and assert its own dominant market position. “Russia must immediately stop using hunger as a weapon of war,” she stressed. France, she observed, has mobilized more than €900 million for emergency food aid, including €160 million for WFP, doubling its 2021 contribution; Moscow, on the other hand, has halved its contribution in 2022. She noted the solidarity corridors emplaced by the European Union have made it possible to transport 41 million tons of grain out of Ukraine since March 2022 and are currently the only transport routes, “and we intend to strengthen them”, she stated.
HERNÁN PÉREZ LOOSE (Ecuador), associating himself with the Group of Friends on Action on Conflict and Hunger, which his country co-chairs, asked Council members what more can be done to address hunger. While there is no one-size-fit-all solution, peace and stability is a necessary condition. In the case of Haiti, the Council, through resolution 2692 (2023), urged all parties, including those with influence on armed groups, to ensure that roads needed to supply local markets are no longer blocked and to stop damage to food sources, crops and livestock, or medical and humanitarian supplies. The deployment of a specialized force to support the Haitian National Police will be beneficial, but security alone is insufficient, he said, calling for parallel strategies that require donor cooperation in the socioeconomic sphere. With 25,000 people dying of hunger every day worldwide, how many lives will the United Nations and this Council have saved since their previous debates on hunger, he asked, also calling for intensified efforts to “turn the page of a humanity in which military spending reaches $2 trillion, and a third of the healthy food produced is wasted, while girls and boys eat mud cookies”.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom), recalling that the Council met last week to discuss the United Nations warning on rapidly deteriorating food security in Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burkina Faso, urged the 15-member organ to take concerted action to tackle the drivers of conflict. The Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace calls for this renewed multilateral cooperation and putting women, such as those in Afghanistan facing a choice between selling their children or starving, at the centre of peace initiatives. Parties to conflict should allow humanitarians rapid and unimpeded access to people in need. “International humanitarian law is our greatest defence against hunger in armed conflict,” she declared. The Russian Federation’s decision to end the Black Sea Grain Initiative has raised food prices, hitting the world’s hungriest people the hardest. Moscow’s offer to give 50,000 tons of grain to each of six countries will not bring grain prices back down, nor help those facing famine in other countries. Sanctions imposed by her country, the United States and the European Union do not target food and fertilizer but the Russian Federation’s war machine. Moscow’s inadequate gesture falls far short of the global problem it has created, she said, calling on that country to re-join the Initiative immediately.
DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) said the interest of Western countries is purely opportunistic — they have become concerned about the threat of world hunger just recently and only to demonize his country. The most acute food crises are directly or indirectly provoked by the action of the United States or its allies. For example, Afghanistan is struggling to climb out of the abyss of hunger and poverty for over 20 years because of the experiments carried by the United States-led coalition to democratize this deeply traditional country in a Western fashion. The Security Council neglected to mention countries such as Iraq, Libya and Syria, where the root causes of food and other crises have been caused by illegal interventions by Western States. The United States is still occupying large areas of Syria, stealing oil, grain and other natural resources. Stressing the need to address the root causes of food insecurity, he said technically, there is no acute food shortage in the world — there is enough food produced in the world, the problem is its distribution. Until the artificially created, illegitimate obstacles affecting Moscow’s ability to supply agricultural products are eliminated, it will hardly be possible to restore the normal functioning of the food supply chain, he emphasized.
VAHE GEVORGYAN, Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia, said Azerbaijan’s continued blocking of the Lachin corridor — a humanitarian lifeline connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with the outside world — has impacted 2,000 pregnant women, around 30,000 children, 20,000 older persons and 9,000 persons with disabilities. The ICRC — the only international humanitarian mission in Nagorno-Karabakh — recently expressed concern over its inability to bring assistance through the Lachin corridor. Azerbaijan’s arrest of a 68-year-old man being transported by ICRC from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia for medical treatment further impeded their work. On 26 July, Armenia delivered around 360 tons of essential goods, appealing to the Russian Federation peacekeeping forces at the entrance to the Lachin corridor due to Azerbaijan’s obstruction to organize the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Voicing hope that the Secretary-General’s statement on the Lachin corridor on 2 August will be the first step towards the Organization’s full engagement on the ground, he called on the United Nations and the Council to take urgent measures to ensure Azerbaijan’s full adherence to the orders of the International Court of Justice, immediately restore the freedom of movement across the corridor and allow safe and unimpeded humanitarian access of United Nations agencies and ICRC to Nagorno-Karabakh.
GERARDO PEÑALVER PORTAL, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, associating himself with the statement to be delivered by Venezuela on behalf of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, said that a proliferation of protectionist policies and the speculative practices of big capital have sent food prices soaring. The irrational patterns of capitalist production and consumption continue destroying the ecological balance of the planet. “Trillions of dollars are invested and wasted on military spending instead of used to protect life and contribute to sustainable development,” he said. “The main obstacle to food security of the Cuban people is the economic, commercial and financial blockade that has been imposed for more than 60 years by the Government of the United States,” he added. The embargo is a grave, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of the Cuban people, including the rights to food and development.
WOJCIECH GERWEL, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, associating himself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union delegation, said that global food supply chains cannot be taken hostage by aggressors to achieve military goals. “Even if we cannot prevent all new conflicts or stop the existing ones, we can start to counter the food insecurity crisis right now,” he said. Poland underscores the need to maintain open trade, including within regions, increase food production and improve distribution, ensuring adequate access to fertilizers and crop diversification. Deliberately creating a food crisis, the Russian Federation has shown disregard for United Nations Security Council resolution 2417 (2018), condemning the starving of civilians as a method of warfare. “We denounce Moscow’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which played a stabilizing role for global food security,” he stressed. Recent escalation of Russian Federation attacks on Ukrainian ports and mining sea corridors used for the grain transport further prove Moscow’s determination to prolong its war of aggression at any cost. Further, he told the Council that Poland stands ready not only for emergency actions, but also for capacity-building of more resilient production systems.
AMAR BENDJAMA (Algeria) said that if current trends continue, by 2030, nearly 670 million will suffer hunger, with Africa being the most fragile region, particularly in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. This is a sad reality, as “the African continent can become the breadbasket of the world with more investment and technology transfer”, he affirmed. The international community must adopt a holistic and integrated approach that will build strong and resilient food systems — the cornerstone in ensuring food security. He called for accelerated transfer of technology and capacity-building of developing countries to produce their own food and for fulfilling engagements under international agreements, especially those related to climate financing. International financial institutions should find urgent solutions to support developing countries, including concessional finance and grants, particularly for African countries.
AHMED MOHAMED EZZAT AHMED ELSHANDAWILY (Egypt) said that failure to achieve food security and end hunger will pose a threat to the security and stability of countries and further fuel ongoing conflicts. Water scarcity in several regions in the world — especially in Africa — have severe manifestations on food security. He highlighted that Egypt is the most densely populated water-scarce country in the world. Currently, water scarcity affects 2.5 billion people around the globe, and it is expected that climate change will result in putting half of the world population under sever water stress in 2050; moreover, water scarcity could displace 700 million people by 2030. In this context, he urged the international community to address the needs of the most vulnerable water-scarce countries and promote transboundary cooperation in accordance with the applicable international law to preserve water for life, agriculture, peace and security.
MYRIAM OEHRI (Liechtenstein) urged the Council to take on an approach that addresses the catastrophe of hunger both as a cause and consequence of conflict. “There is enough food for us all; nobody on our planet should be going hungry,” she stressed. The intentional starvation of civilians is a war crime. Liechtenstein calls on conflict parties to adhere to their obligations under international law. She underscored the dire food insecurity situations in Ethiopia, Sudan and Yemen. Further, she said that the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine exemplifies the impact that conflict can have on food security both domestically and abroad. “Throughout the country, farms have been mined, water systems destroyed, and grain storage sites explicitly targeted in attacks,” she said. By withdrawing from the Black Sea Grain Initiative in mid-July, the Russian Federation once again acted in direct opposition to the security of millions of people worldwide.
ANTJE LEENDERTSE (Germany) urged the Russian Federation to immediately stop its attacks on grain warehouses in Ukraine, stop blocking Ukrainian ports and rejoin the Black Sea Grain Initiative, and ultimately withdraw all its troops and military equipment from that country. Germany is the second largest donor to WFP. It supports farmers worldwide to produce their own food and will continue its efforts to export agricultural goods from Ukraine through the European Union Solidarity Lanes and other alternative routes. The Council must discuss the nexus between climate change and peace and security systematically and on a regular basis. Stressing the need for creative and tailored solutions, she highlighted the potential of a locally produced green nitrogen fertilizer to support food security and increase resilience to price volatility and supply chain disruptions, while contributing to reducing carbon emissions from the agriculture sector. Her country hopes to develop this technology and innovative partnerships that enable more green growth, she added.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE (Mexico) said the joint and coordinated work of United Nations agencies is essential to effectively address and mitigate the growing impacts of the food security crisis. Early warning mechanisms are essential to avoid humanitarian catastrophes, but even more important is a timely and effective response. “It is unacceptable that, in a world of abundance, there is a constant increase in the number of people living in food insecurity,” he stated — emphasizing that 258 million people are currently affected. Although the causes of food insecurity are multidimensional, armed conflicts are a determining factor in exacerbating it. Crises in Burkina Faso, Mali, Sudan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Somalia show that when a conflict is prolonged, it almost inevitably leads to food insecurity. In his region, he stressed that half the population of Haiti needs food assistance.
MAHMOUD DAIFALLAH HMOUD (Jordan) said that conflict-driven food insecurity affects three out of four refugees and nearly 5 per cent of the total population in his country. With one of the lowest levels of water available per person in the world, Jordan has watched increasingly frequent climate-related shocks strain its agricultural industry. With the mounting needs of refugees outpacing aid pledges, he said that “chronically underfunded United Nations agencies are forced to feed the starving at the expense of the hungry”. Just three days ago, WFP ended cash handouts for 50,000 refugees in his country after it reduced food subsidies by a third for all 120,000 refugees in Za’atari and Al-Azraq refugee camps in 2022. Amman expects the Council to assume its responsibility, commensurate with the commitments shown by refugee-hosting countries, in facilitating sustainable solutions to refugee crises. The suffering and deprivation of the Palestinian population under Israel’s occupation is a clear example of the need for the Council to act, he stressed.
JAMES LARSEN (Australia), also speaking for Canada and New Zealand, said that this year over 345 million people face acute food insecurity, more than twice the number of people in 2020. Of these, over 43 million people are now on the brink of famine and nearly 1 million people are expected to face catastrophic conditions. “We know that food insecurity exacerbates existing inequalities, with women and girls especially affected,” he continued. Condemning the Russian Federation’s decision to walk away from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he said that its deliberate targeting and destruction of Ukrainian agricultural land has exacerbated global food insecurity. Calling on Moscow to return to the negotiating table and end its war in Ukraine, he said the Initiative remains critical for stabilizing global food prices and ensuring those most vulnerable in Africa, the Indo-Pacific and the Middle East have access to predictable supplies of affordable food. Further, all parties to armed conflict must protect civilians, civilian infrastructure, and objects essential to the survival of the civilian population, including agri-food systems. Starvation as a method of warfare must be condemned at all times.
KHALID SALEH SAID AL RUBKHI (Oman), speaking for the Gulf Cooperation Council, called on all parties to conflict to respect international law and international humanitarian law, underscoring the need to protect civilians, civilian objects and humanitarian workers. Voicing concern about rising humanitarian needs and the threat of famine, he said Member States must commit to the principles and the provisions of the Charter and international law and respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of States. They must resort to peaceful means to settle disputes and refrain from the threat of force or the use of force. Noting his bloc’s efforts in providing humanitarian assistance around the world, he stressed the need to coordinate international efforts to promote climate action and promote resilience, especially of developing States. He called on the international community to multiply its efforts to address conflicts around the world and to address them equally.
DANG HOANG GIANG (Viet Nam) said that the most effective way to prevent hunger and famine in conflict-affected areas is to address violence and build peace. The United Nations Charter and international law, especially humanitarian law, must be strictly upheld in all conflicts. Having gone through decades of war and transformation from a hunger-stricken country to one of the world’s largest exporters of rice and agricultural products, Viet Nam understands first-hand the vital role of food security to sustaining peace, and vice versa. Today, food security is both a goal and a means in Viet Nam’s socioeconomic development strategy, in which it prioritizes the development of low-emission and climate-resilient agriculture. He said his country will continue to contribute to global food security through stable exports of rice and various other agricultural products and stands ready to work with the international community to address famine and conflict-induced food insecurity.
SURIYA CHINDAWONGSE (Thailand) said that all data point to armed conflict and war being the most significant drivers of hunger and food insecurity. Over one quarter of a billion people are facing acute hunger, with 70 per cent of hungry people living in areas affected by war. The international community must focus on the primacy of protecting civilians and oppose the use of food as a weapon of war, with every United Nations Member State and party to conflict observing their humanitarian responsibilities. Calling for a more resilient food system, he recalled that food insecurity caused by conflict has disproportionate impacts on low-income and developing countries. It is vital to strengthen the global food system and the entire supply chain, which must remain open to the unimpeded flow of food, fertilizer and energy. Further, in the long run, investment in climate action is an investment against starvation.
BOŠTJAN MALOVRH (Slovenia), associating himself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union, said it is disheartening to witness the world regressing in its efforts to eradicate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. In 2022, over a quarter of a billion people experienced acute hunger in 58 countries and territories, with many of them in armed conflict situations. Conflict and insecurity are the primary drivers of acute food insecurity for 117 million people in 19 countries and territories, he said, voicing concern over the impact of conflict on food and water availability. Stories of children forced to abandon their education due to food scarcity, women and girls facing heightened risks of sexual violence while collecting water after dark and fertile agricultural land contaminated with explosive ordnance paint a daunting picture. Further, climate change — manifested through droughts, heavy rainfall and floods — has tangible consequences for millions of people. Stressing the need to enhance coordination to strengthen global food systems, he welcomed the establishment of the United Nations Famine Prevention and Response Coordinator.
MARTIN BILLE HERMANN (Denmark), speaking also for Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, expressed deep regret that the Russian Federation left the Black Sea Grain Initiative while also condemning Moscow’s attacks on civilian infrastructure following its withdrawal from the Initiative. Resolution 2417 (2018) strongly condemned the use of starvation as a method of warfare. Drawing attention to a joint communiqué his bloc also signed, he said the document warns against “weaponizing” food and urged others to join the appeal. It is vital for parties to conflict to fully comply with international humanitarian law.
“Conflict often leads to hunger, and hunger often leads to conflict,” he said, stressing the need for policy and financing instruments to scale up sustainable agriculture, with climate action in the equation, to produce the results people need. Nothing can be achieved without financing. His bloc will remain the providers of flexible and predictable funding to alleviate hunger, he said.
CARLA MARÍA RODRÍGUEZ MANCIA (Guatemala) underlined the urgent need to address climate change, as it exacerbates humanitarian crises, conflicts and instability, especially in fragile situations where Governments have limited means to help their populations adapt. Further, it is necessary to protect the most vulnerable and act immediately to save lives, improving the security environment and humanitarian response and building more resilient communities. She expressed deep regret that the Russian Federation has terminated the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The withdrawal of its security guarantees for navigation in the north-western part of the Black Sea has had a negative impact on humanitarian operations contributing to alleviating hunger worldwide. Moscow’s illegal aggression against Ukraine has put world food security at risk and caused macroeconomic destabilization of food prices, resulting in forced displacement of people and loss of access to livelihoods and income, she said.
SAMUEL HINDS (Guyana), stressing that the right to food is a human right, emphasized: “Food must never be used as a weapon of war.” More than a quarter of a billion people are acutely food-insecure and in need of urgent food assistance in 58 countries. Conflict remains one of the main drivers of acute food insecurity with 117.1 million people affected. Spotlighting the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) lead on agriculture, agricultural diversification and food security, he said that Guyana is working with regional States to reinvigorate growth and development of the agri-food sector. There is a focus on boosting regional production in order to reduce the regional food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, as well as enhancing food and nutrition security in the region. Guyana’s national efforts are aimed at diversifying the agrifood sector, including through increased budgetary allocations and investment in research and adoption of climate-smart technologies, he added.
ANIL KAYALAR (Türkiye) urged all parties to armed conflicts to respect core humanitarian principles. Security and food crises mutually reinforce each other and create a vicious cycle. The impacts of climate change pose an additional stress on agricultural systems, which make it even more difficult to satisfy the needs of rapidly growing populations. The ongoing war in Ukraine between the world’s two key agricultural producers has further jeopardized the already fragile global food security. The Black Sea Grain Initiative has functioned as an effective mechanism to address this fragility and stabilize food prices for almost a year. All sides should refrain from escalatory steps. Given its role in the launching and implementation of the Initiative, he underlined that Türkiye remains committed to reviving the Initiative, as well as taking part in international efforts to mitigate the impact of the war in Ukraine on global food security.
TESFAYE YILMA SABO (Ethiopia) said it is unacceptable that African people are exposed to food shortages while the continent is endowed with land, water and manpower that should be able to feed the world. Underscoring the need for global solidarity and unity of purpose, he said the African Union’s agenda aims at the complete elimination of hunger and food insecurity in the continent. It is also working towards reducing food imports and increasing inter-Africa trade in agriculture by 50 per cent. His country is on track to achieve this target, he said, noting that it has been able to produce surplus wheat for export after covering the national demand. Food security is an attainable goal in all of Africa, he underscored, calling on the international community, United Nations and international financial institutions to support the agriculture and food production sector and transform trade practices that perpetuate food import dependencies of African countries.
PAULA NARVÁEZ OJEDA (Chile) emphasized that conflicts, climate change, terrorism, violent extremism and economic instability continue to drive famine and food insecurity, making it impossible for States to promote a healthy food environment and consumption of a nutrient-rich, balanced and safe diet. She called on the international community to increase innovation, learn from successful initiatives, and promote programmes to bolster production of essential foods for national and local consumption in vulnerable areas and territories. She underscored that women, girls, boys, Indigenous Peoples and the elderly are the main groups affected by food insecurity and conflicts. Noting that some Member States have taken measures, including closing markets and imposing unjustified barriers or unilateral coercive measures on food and related trade, she stressed that they run counter to efforts to reduce hunger. She called for a food trade based on the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
GIANLUCA GRECO (Italy) expressed deep regret that the decision taken by the Russian Federation to oppose the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a “beacon of hope” for many countries in Africa and elsewhere. He reiterated his call on Moscow to re-join the Initiative, stop using food as a weapon and cease the illegal blockage of Ukrainian sea ports. Drawing attention to resolution 2417 (2018), he said that all the tools are available, and what is needed is political commitment and action. The use of starvation as a method of warfare is prohibited by international law. Italy, which hosts United Nations food agencies, is committed to addressing global food insecurity, he said, recalling that the United Nations Food System Summit Stocktaking Moment held in Rome in July addressed the linkages among food security, climate change and security. Food security will be high on the agenda of Italy’s Group of Seven presidency in 2024, he added.
RUCHIRA KAMBOJ (India), highlighting that 362 million people in 62 countries require humanitarian aid, said in a world ridden with armed conflicts, food, fertilizer and energy crises pose significant challenges for countries in the Global South. “The solutions lie in collective global action, as no single country can handle these challenges alone,” she stressed, adding that choosing peace, cooperation and multilateralism is essential for building a collective future. Armed conflicts, terrorism, extreme weather events, crop pests, food price volatility, exclusion and economic shocks can devastate any fragile economy, leading to food insecurity and an increased threat of famine. Therefore, providing capacity-building support to countries facing these challenges in implementing food-related programmes is of utmost importance. Detailing India’s humanitarian initiatives, she pointed to the donation of 50,000 metric tons of wheat to the people of Afghanistan. Similarly, India has continued its humanitarian support for Myanmar, including a grant of 10,000 tons of rice and wheat, she said.
MARTIN KIMANI (Kenya) said that in the Horn of Africa and in the Sahel, more than 29 million people are food insecure. This crisis is linked to civil wars, terrorism and regionalized conflicts. “It is also reasonable to argue that the military coups across the Sahel may lead to serious shortfalls in trade and investment, potentially restricting access to affordable nutrition,” he warned. Further, he called for a ceasefire in Ukraine and the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Turning to Haiti, he said the situation there is particularly dire for children, with 22 per cent being chronically malnourished and 66 per cent under five suffering from anaemia. The Council’s willingness to consider authorizing a multinational police force to work with Haitian authorities to counter gang violence and secure critical infrastructure is encouraging. However, Kenya cannot do this alone, he said, calling for support from the United Nations and relevant actors.
THIBAULT CAMELLI, representative for the European Union, in its capacity as observer, called on the Russian Federation to stop using food as a weapon, re-join the Black Sea Grain Initiative and cease illegally blocking Ukrainian sea ports. Conflict-induced food insecurity is on the rise, he said, highlighting the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burkina Faso, Mali, Sudan, Yemen and Haiti. “We have a collective responsibility to eradicate hunger and save lives,” he stressed, adding that the European Union has been at the forefront of global efforts to combat food insecurity and malnutrition. In 2022 alone, it allocated over €1 billion of humanitarian food and nutrition assistance. The unprecedented global food crisis requires urgent and coordinated action, he said, noting that the United Nations Food Systems Summit+2 reignited momentum in this regard. He also stressed the need for more complementarity between humanitarian, development and peace actions to protect essential resources and address the root causes of hunger and conflict.
PAUL BERESFORD-HILL, Permanent Observer of the Sovereign Order of Malta, said the Order has dedicated itself to providing humanitarian care and medical services to the poor and sick across the globe for 900 years. The conflict in Ukraine, especially the breakdown of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, has significantly hindered its humanitarian efforts in the Middle East and Africa. Its extensive involvement in food distribution operations in Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan relies heavily on the supply of grain from the Russian Federation and Ukraine. He recalled that in Bangladesh from 1970 to 1974 an interplay between inadequate preparedness and post-crisis care for both natural disasters and military conflicts led to the loss of 2 million lives due to undernutrition and starvation. The recent collapse of the Initiative raises concerns about a similar humanitarian disaster if not addressed promptly, he said.
MARWAN ALI NOMAN AL-DOBHANY (Yemen) voiced deep concern about the exacerbation of food insecurity in his country due to the contraction of its national economy caused by the war, as well as by the terrorist threat and attacks by Houthis who target vital economic and oil infrastructure in the country. The international community must promote early actions and strengthen prevention mechanisms through coordination and information sharing. His country is also facing the effects of climate change, he said, stressing that countries like his which are in conflict, or a post-conflict situation must step up institutional capacity to combat climate change and act together with the private sector and other Member States to increase the capacity of agriculture sectors. He called on the international community, donors and international organizations to support his country’s hunting, fishing and aquaculture sectors to improve the lives of coastal communities and improve food security.
OMAR KADIRI (Morocco) noted that resolution 2417 (2018) calls for sanctions on those diverting food or preventing it from arriving. Food security and the sustainability of food systems are priorities for his country, which engages in South-South cooperation with other African countries. He cited Moroccan initiatives to increase food stability and security on the continent, as well as climate change action initiatives, including financial and technical support. Rabat has allocated millions of tons of fertilizer adapted to African needs for 44 million farmers, and this year will double its allocations in 2022 and 2021. Morocco aims to mobilize governmental resources and the private sector to unleash African potential for food production, with the goal of ending food insecurity and preventing potential conflict, he reported, calling for international solidarity to end that crisis in many areas, especially on that continent.
YOKA BRANDT (Netherlands), also speaking for Belgium and Luxembourg and associating herself with the European Union, said that access restrictions continue to pose an obstacle in the effective delivery of humanitarian aid. Those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be held accountable, including before international courts when no response is forthcoming at the national level. The collection, consolidation, preservation, and analysis of evidence are indispensable first steps that Member States can take to contribute to the fight against impunity. Transparency and communication, through increased reporting and consequent collective action, are vital in ensuring a swift and targeted response to those in acute need. The current situation of increased destruction and deliberate targeting of agricultural land, irrigation schemes and food chain infrastructure, such as recently by the Russian Federation in Ukraine must end now. She stressed the importance of a cross-border mechanism without impediments so that humanitarian aid can continue to reach those in need in Syria, as well as the continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative so that global food prices can return to normal.
MARTIN GALLAGHER (Ireland), speaking for the Group of Friends of Action on Conflict and Hunger, co-chaired by his country and Ecuador, recalled that resolution 2417 (2018) requested the Secretary-General to swiftly report to the Council when “the risk of conflict-induced famine and widespread food insecurity occurs”. This reporting serves as an early-warning mechanism and assists the Council to respond to situations where famine due to conflict and violence is an immediate danger. “Where lives could be saved if we acted quickly,” he said, noting that “there are numerous situations that meet this threshold”, such as the situations in Haiti, Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There should be renewed efforts by all Member States to prevent conflict-induced hunger, including through greater support for locally- and regionally-led responses. Preventing conflict is the most effective way to prevent conflict-induced hunger, he stressed.
Speaking in his national capacity, he said that when Council members sought to move the discussion from a theoretical one to seeking proactive action to prevent conflict induced hunger in a particular country or region, the Council failed to provide support. Many reasons were given. However, ultimately this was a dereliction of this Council’s duty as outlined in resolution 2417 (2018). Such intransigence of the Council costs lives. “If at an open debate we all lament conflict-induced hunger […], then the Security Council must do something about it,” he said. “Fine words do not prevent conflicts and they certainly do not fill bellies. But action can.”
BURHAN GAFOOR (Singapore), underlining that food security is an existential concern for many countries, including Singapore, reported that his country imports more than 90 per cent of the food that it consumes. Global food supply chains must remain free and open. This includes upholding the rules-based multilateral trading system, ensuring unimpeded movement of essential items such as food and agricultural commodities and refraining from imposing export prohibitions or restrictions in a manner inconsistent with relevant World Trade Organization provisions. “We must not allow the vicious cycle between conflict and hunger to perpetuate,” he stressed, calling for the resumption of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Food security is not just a local or regional problem but a global challenge. This means the international community must collectively invest in global food systems as a global public good and shift away from the mindset that the only way to address the issue is through aid.
KHRYSTYNA HAYOVYSHYN (Ukraine), associating herself with the European Union, highlighted that over 250 million people faced acute food insecurity in 2022 and urgently require food assistance. Countries such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Nigeria, the Sahel region, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen are particularly vulnerable, with their populations facing starvation and death if immediate humanitarian intervention is not provided. Moscow’s decision to terminate the Black Sea Grain Initiative will further exacerbate the global food crisis and directly affect the lives of tens of millions of people worldwide. The Russian Federation's blockade of Ukraine’s food exports in Black Sea ports since February 2022, along with attacks on its farms and grain storages, have severely impacted regions already struggling with food insecurity. In addition, recent attacks on port infrastructure and civilian vessels have caused immense destruction, with around 220,000 tons of grain crops being destroyed. Accordingly, she called on States to support Ukraine’s initiative to establish a humanitarian maritime corridor in the Black Sea. This corridor will help re-establish vital food supply routes to regions in dire need. Further, she urged States to join the “Grain from Ukraine” humanitarian programme which has already sent 170,000 tons of wheat to Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen and Kenya.
KHRYSTYNA HAYOVYSHYN (Slovakia) said his country remains committed to implementing Sustainable Development Goal 2 — zero hunger — and, as part of the European Union, is at the forefront of combating food insecurity and malnutrition through funding and assistance. It co-signed the joint communiqué condemning the use of food as a weapon of war, he added, stressing that those who perpetrate the starvation of civilians must be held accountable. Noting the unfortunate use of food as a weapon of war by a permanent Council member, he said global food insecurity has been under strain due to climate change and the pandemic. This was further exacerbated by the Russian Federation’s war on Ukraine and its refusal to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative. He urged the Russian Federation to stop using food as a weapon, re-join the Black Sea Grain Initiative without further delay, and cease the illegal blocking of Ukrainian seaports.
ANA JIMENEZ DE LA HOZ (Spain), aligning herself with the European Union, condemned the Russian Federation’s decision to end the Black Sea Grain Initiative, calling for it to reconsider. Using starvation as a method of war undermines the four dimensions of food security — availability, access, utilization and stability — and constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law, as well as a war crime. She noted that the Spanish Penal Code punishes those who intentionally starve the civilian population as a means of warfare, while the recently approved humanitarian diplomacy strategy includes support for compliance with Council resolution 2417 (2018). In September 2022, Spain committed €226.5 million to deal with food insecurity for the next three years and, in January 2023, approved an additional €14.4 million to WFP for an emergency plan, mainly in African countries.
HARI PRABOWO (Indonesia) stressed the need to break the vicious cycle of armed conflict, violence, and food insecurity. The Council should work in synergy with other United Nations entities to address the root causes of conflict. Capacities must be enhanced and resilience must be bolstered as many countries are prone to global shocks, such as rising food commodity prices. Technical and financial assistance as well as capacity-building are also vital to achieve food security. He also highlighted the need to strengthen international cooperation and multistakeholder collaboration. In South-east Asia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), along with its dialogue partners, cooperate on food security and nutrition, including in times of crisis, he said.
JOONKOOK HWANG (Republic of Korea) said that climate change is exacerbating both conflict and food insecurity. Compounding impacts are especially concerning for Africa, which has also been most impacted by the increase in food prices since the war on Ukraine. He highlighted the serious food insecurity transpiring in a different part of the world, where the situation is no less grave. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s longstanding chronic food shortages have been further deteriorating recently. “And this food crisis is indeed a regime-induced one, stemming from three wrong choices: nuclear and missile development, closure of the border, and a market-distorting policy,” he said. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea “dissipated their scarce resources to be vainly blown up in the sky with an unprecedented frequency”, he stressed. The COVID-19 pandemic provided Pyongyang pretext to seal off its border, curbing humanitarian aid delivery to the people.
ANDREEA MOCANU (Romania) noted that in 2023, one in five people in Africa is going hungry, and almost 600 million people will be chronically undernourished in 2030 — 23 million more than if the war started by the Russian Federation against Ukraine had not happened. Citing Moscow’s targeting of port infrastructure on the Danube River, close to Romanian territory, she emphasized that those ports have a special mission: to provide alternative ways to export Ukrainian grain. Romania has facilitated the exportation of over 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine, “but we need to revert to the spirit of the Black Sea Grain Initiative if we truly are committed to leave no one behind,” she stressed. Further, climate change, with its impact on soil and on people’s lives in Africa, the Middle East, and more in the northern hemisphere “is a risk that cannot be overlooked”, she stated.
OUMAROU GANOU (Burkina Faso) said that a combination of structural factors linked to climate, poverty and external shocks have long jeopardized livelihoods in his country, which also suffers from sporadic famines. Increased food insecurity in recent years is due mainly to the security crisis as terrorist acts have caused the displacement of about 2 million people — a situation which the Government’s Action Plan for Stabilization and Development 2023-2025 aims to address. The United Nations has also agreed with the transitional Government on an interim Plan of Action for Sustainable Development for 2023-2025. The Presidential Initiative for Agricultural Production adopted in May set a target of 190,000 tons of cereals between 2023 and 2024 at a cost of $35 million. He called for better coordination among the various stakeholders to support national and regional initiatives in a timely manner, drawing attention to the specific mechanisms and agencies of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), including the Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food.
MUHAMMAD ABDUL MUHITH (Bangladesh) underscored that the global food security landscape has been significantly impacted by conflict and climate change in recent years. The ongoing war in Ukraine and related sanctions have jeopardized his Government’s efforts to ensure food security for 168 million people in his country, he said, spotlighting initiatives aimed at investments in agri-food systems. It is essential to address factors that affect food prices, especially during conflict, he said, voicing support for the Secretary-General’s call to keep markets open, remove unnecessary export restrictions and release food reserves. It is also important to keep the Black Sea Grain Initiative alive, he said, denouncing the use of famine and starvation as weapons of war. He called on parties to armed conflicts to refrain from attacking infrastructure critical for production and distribution of food. Further, he called for international cooperation, climate financing and technology transfer to support vulnerable countries such as Bangladesh.
MARTÍN JUAN MAINERO (Argentina) said that 60 per cent of people suffering from hunger live in conflict zones. Conflict and insecurity are the most important factors for high levels of food insecurity, impacting 117 million people worldwide. Armed conflicts generate food insecurity. “They destroy roads, ports and food supplies and limit humanitarian access,” he pointed out. International humanitarian law prohibits the starvation of civilians as a means of war. Despite these provisions, hunger is frequently used by belligerents in armed conflicts. As a major exporter of food, Argentina is committed to helping eradicate hunger. Open international trade has a key role to play in guaranteeing food security worldwide, including in humanitarian situations and armed conflict.
MARKOVA CONCEPCIÓN JARAMILLO (Panama) urged the Russian Federation to re-establish negotiations to keep the Black Sea humanitarian corridor open, which guarantees the functioning of the agricultural system. She further highlighted that evidence shows that participation of women at all levels of the decision-making process can ensure peace. In situations of conflict and food insecurity, women and girls are more likely to experience gender-based violence, and can beforced to engage in transactional sex or exchanging sex for food or money to buy food. The war in Ukraine has deepened a global cost-of-living crisis not seen in at least a generation, compromising aspirations for a better world by 2030. She unequivocally reaffirmed that “hunger must never be used as a weapon of war”, calling for solidarity and better cooperation between all main bodies of the United Nations in addressing the structural causes of conflict.
SULAY-MANAH KPUKUMU (Sierra Leone) said that food security is one of the five key priorities of his country, which will take a non-permanent seat in the Council for the 2024-2025 term during which it will tackle the scourge as a priority. Calling for a world free of hunger, he emphasized that hunger is both a consequence and driver of stability. About 70 per cent of food insecure countries are also fragile States. Warning of acute food insecurity in the Central Sahel and Lake Chad areas, he said his country has an 8-point plan for food security, including investment in agriculture, water management, and establishment of agri-processing zones. Conflict infringes on the right to food, he cautioned, calling for the continuation of the Black Sea grain deal.
ROBERT ALEXANDER POVEDA BRITO (Venezuela), speaking for the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, said that the continued, systematic, and relentless promulgation, application and even expansion of unilateral coercive measures are cruel, inhumane and have no legal basis. “They aim to deprive entire populations from their own means of subsistence, in flagrant violation of the most basic norms of international law,” he stressed. The weaponization of the economy and the international financial system, particularly through the application of unilateral coercive measures, can be as lethal as weapons used in conventional warfare. The continued application of unilateral coercive measures makes it nearly impossible to purchase equipment, software or hardware and spare parts and to ensure the proper transfer of technology needed for agricultural and food industry development. Food must never be used as a weapon of war, he said, underscoring that, as well, unilateral coercive measures should never be used as a tactic of warfare. They only inflict starvation or the extermination of entire peoples, including through the deprivation of access to food.
ANDREJS PILDEGOVIČS (Latvia), associating himself with the European Union, said the Russian Federation is deliberately deepening food insecurity and adding to the suffering of the most vulnerable people across the globe by invading Ukraine and weaponizing food. Through destroying Ukraine’s agricultural lands, crippling its agricultural economy and blocking its exports, Moscow has disrupted grain deliveries worldwide and fuelled a surge in food prices globally. In particular, he condemned the Russian Federation’s decision to terminate its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative as well as the following barrage of attacks on Ukrainian port facilities and agricultural warehouses. Against this backdrop, he called on that country to immediately cease its unlawful military activities to ensure the resumption of shipments of food and agricultural commodities from and to Ukraine. The international system based on international law must not tolerate deliberate attacks on global agricultural supply chains and global food markets, he asserted.
MASOTSHA MONGEZI MNGUNI (South Africa) expressed deep concern that in some conflict situations, starvation is used as a tactic of warfare. “This open debate is timely,” he said, adding that hunger and starvation are occurring in the context of a 13 per cent increase in global military expenditure. “This is immoral and reminds us that the use of force is never wise,” he stressed. In 2015, countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and proclaimed the eradication of poverty and ending of hunger as its overarching goal. Noting that current data indicates that the world is off track to achieve the poverty and hunger eradication targets set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he stressed the need to invest resources and strengthen confidence in United Nations agencies focused on providing food aid. Humanitarian interventions for countries in crisis can help provide effective social protection measures, including improved food security and nutrition for populations in need.
KRISTEL LÕUK (Estonia), emphasizing that it is shameful that a key United Nations-facilitated initiative to improve global food security was unilaterally abandoned by a permanent Council member, condemned the Russian Federation’s “selfish and cynical” decision to weaponize food. Terminating the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative is a catastrophic loss to people in need everywhere. Just yesterday Moscow bombed the Izmail port on the river Danube, destroying 40,000 tons of grain destined to countries in Africa, China and Israel and increasing global wheat prices by 4 per cent. The Kremlin’s offer of a small amount of free grain to six African countries is yet another attempt to create an illusion of its capabilities to replace Ukrainian grain, she said, expressing support for salvaging the grain deal.
BRETT JONATHAN MILLER (Israel) noted that, as a nation in the Middle East, Israel experienced food insecurity in the first decades of its existence. However, through innovation, it “transformed challenges into opportunities”. Pointing to advancements in agricultural and water management technology domestically, he added that the country also seeks to have an international impact. Regionally, he spotlighted collaborations with Morocco on water security and a joint desalination deal with Jordan facilitated by the United Arab Emirates. However, food insecurity is also exacerbated by conflicts and terrorism — as in May, when Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired mortars at a border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, a deliberate targeting of humanitarian corridors. Calling for the international community to work to ensure that “food remains a source of sustenance and not a tool of manipulation”, he encouraged the Russian Federation to agree to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
VALENTIN RYBAKOV (Belarus), associating himself with the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter, rejected the joint communiqué, saying that no consultations on the document were held with his country, which had no opportunities to propose changes and amendments. The text does not make a reference to one of the main threats to food security, that being illegal unilateral sanctions. The sanctions imposed by Western countries against his country, including on its potash industry, have negative consequences for global food security. The exemptions from sanctions are “a fiction”, as the embargos completely block the supply of Belarusian fertilizers and food. Potassium is critical for maximizing crop yields. The illegal unilateral actions of Lithuania and other Western countries have already endangered the food security of individual countries, regions and continents. The supply of Belarusian potassium to Africa has been completely paralyzed in 2023 due to the actions of Lithuania. He urged Western States to stop using illegal unilateral sanctions as their favourite weapon of war, saying that “this will be their real contribution to global food security”.
ABDULAZIZ M. ALWASIL (Saudi Arabia), associating himself with the Gulf Cooperation Council, stressed the need to find practical solutions to address famine and prevent severe consequences of conflict-induced insecurity. He detailed efforts deployed by his country to ensure food security in Yemen, the State of Palestine, Syria, Sudan, Lebanon and Somalia. As the biggest donor of humanitarian aid in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia will continue in its humanitarian efforts worldwide. Addressing root causes of conflict has become an absolute necessity, he said, calling on the international community to make concerted efforts to find political and economic solutions that can contribute to ending ongoing conflict and reduce the likelihood of conflict eruption. No food security can be achieved in the absence of peace, he said, highlighting the importance of concerted international efforts to enhance climate action and resilience of developing countries.
YASHAR T. ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said that his country has experienced conflict-driven threats to its food security during the nearly 30 years of occupation of some 20 per cent of its territory by Armenia, which has caused long-term, severe damage to food production and has destroyed water infrastructure and polluted water resources. Large areas of Azerbaijan’s farmland have been spoiled by the construction of trenches, tunnels and other defensive fortifications by Armenia. Its decades-long military engineering activities have also caused significant land disturbance, impacting vegetation cover, water infiltration and surface water flows, along with over 1.5 million landmines contaminating over 3,000 square miles of Azerbaijan’s land. Armenia must provide, without delay, the exact location of these mines. In response to Armenia’s allegations made earlier today, he condemned that country’s efforts to abuse the issue of humanitarian assistance for malign purposes. “Azerbaijan’s consistent calls on Armenia for cooperation through the border and customs entities to ensure smooth functioning of the road for the movement of persons, cargo and services have remained unanswered,” he added. He warned against Armenia’s intention to create a false narrative of humanitarian crises in the region, adding it must abide by its international obligations and withdraw its armed forces from Azerbaijan’s territory.
JORGE EDUARDO FERREIRA SILVA ARANDA (Portugal), associating himself with the European Union, joined others in calling for the resumption of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and condemning attacks on civilian infrastructure. He encouraged the United Nations to embrace the recommendations put forward by the Secretary-General in Our Common Agenda, and, more recently, in the New Agenda for Peace policy brief. Stressing the need to scale up emergency response, he said that it is also important to simultaneously improve the resilience of countries’ food systems, in particular in developing countries faced with climate change and other challenges. Steps such as the supply of affordable agricultural inputs and products, investments in small-scale infrastructure, short-term credit, and better access to markets and commercial information may play an important role in that regard.
JEANNE MRAD (Lebanon) noted that the dangers threatening food security now affect the entire world, without exception. Cutting off the cycle of food, particularly by imposing sanctions or blocking humanitarian aid in times or areas of crisis, is equivalent to using people as human shields. Lebanon is considered 1 of the 20 countries facing hunger, she pointed out, calling for food security and financial aid to be safeguarded without political considerations. It is crucial to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative mandate so that food can reach the most vulnerable States and populations. Further, the United Nations needs a comprehensive strategy to address the worsening situation and food security in general, with a memorandum of understanding or an international protocol added to the list of the rules of war to ensure that food security cannot be used as a weapon.
ANTONIO MANUEL REVILLA LAGDAMEO (Philippines) outlined national efforts to tackle both short- and long-term food crises that have hit his country. Quoting it’s President, he said: “Food is not just a trade commodity nor is it just a livelihood […] It is the very basis of human security.” Amidst inflationary pressures, the Government has intensified measures to improve local food production and help the agricultural sector to quickly recover from the deterioration of the value chain. The Philippine Development Plan addresses the current energy and food crises in the context of a new system for energy, climate and nature. Collaboration and accountability must be enhanced to increase access to civilians in need of life-saving assistance during conflict, with a focus on children, women and girls. His is the first country in the region to launch a national action plan on the women, peace and security agenda, he said, citing the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programme, which reintegrates ex-rebels through training, education, housing and livelihood.
DIEGO PARY RODRÍGUEZ (Bolivia), associating himself with the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter, said that, although global food insecurity is a result of conflict, the international community cannot ignore the disastrous colonization processes of Africa, Asia and the Americas. The main cause of the vulnerability of people to hunger is poverty; and the main factor that explains their poverty is the history of colonial exploitation. Therefore, investments in equitable, sustainable and resilient agrifood systems must be prioritized to eradicate poverty and hunger, based on the recognition of these historical responsibilities. He underscored that the Security Council can contribute to the consolidation of a renewed multilateralism by working to expand the regions declared as zones of peace and abandoning short-term geopolitical ambitions.
TAREK LADEB (Tunisia) said it is important to focus on the factors causing food insecurity more closely. In addition to climate change and economic and energy crises, armed conflict is one of the main reasons for and drivers of starvation. Armed conflict also has an impact on global food security and systems — which are increasingly interconnected. The implications of conflicts are not exclusive to the region they occur in given the very intertwined nature of trade. It is therefore incumbent upon the international community to address armed conflict. A grains stockpile used in times of need would serve as a good security measure in times of market volatility. In today’s modern and intertwined world, conflict recognizes no borders and its spill-over effects can be felt far and wide, he pointed out.
SOPHEA EAT (Cambodia) pointed to her country’s first-hand experience of conflict-induced famine and food insecurity, calling for the Peacebuilding Commission to play a bigger advisory role on appropriate actions in conflict areas. Weaponizing the food supply and depriving people of access to food is a violation of human rights, and while effort has been made to confront famine and acute malnutrition, the Global Report on Food Crisis still shows a bleak picture. She called for strengthening the resilience of food systems in the face of climate change, requiring coordinated effort to mobilize more funding for adaptation. She further suggested efforts to match partners in carbon trading as a way to generate financing for adaptation activities. This includes the extension of best practices on climate resilient food crop cultivation and the application of modern technology or investment in exploring whether certain food crops can serve as carbon sinks.
KYAW MOE TUN (Myanmar) said that a decade of democratic reforms and hard-worn momentum to reduce poverty has been eliminated following the 2021 illegal coup by the military junta. Currently, 15.2 million people are in food insecurity. According to WFP, nearly one in three children in Myanmar under the age of five suffers from stunting and 7 per cent from wasting. The junta destroyed civilian livelihoods by preventing them from farming and harvesting their crops. The Council has made repeated calls and demands, including through resolution 2669 (2022), for an immediate end to all forms of violence and for full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access in Myanmar. However, the Council has yet to hold the military junta accountable for their repeated war crimes, he said, urging the 15-nation organ to follow up with enforcement actions to its repeated demands. It is a high time for the Council to start a negotiation process to adopt a timely, enforceable resolution on Myanmar, he added.
MOHAMMAD AAMIR KHAN (Pakistan) underlined that the primary drivers of food insecurity are under-development, COVID-19, climate impact and conflict. Notably, 117 million of the 258 million food-insecure live in 19 war and conflict zones, he observed, adding that 15.3 million Afghans are projected to face high food insecurity. Food insecurity becomes particularly acute in situations of prolonged foreign occupation, he said, drawing attention to the situations of the Palestinian peoples in the Occupied Territory and Jammu and Kashmir, who have suffered foreign occupation for seven decades. They have been subjected to blockades, lockdowns and collective punishments, including deliberate economic and food deprivation. Food insecurity requires immediate solidarity and structural solutions, he underscored, stressing the need to mobilize food supplies to those facing famine and food insecurity. Further, it is essential to expand food production, especially in the developing countries, and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
GLORIA DAKWAK (Nigeria) said that the Ukraine war has adversely affected the food supply chain. “We need to work harder to stop violent conflicts,” she said, noting that women and children are most affected by food insecurity. Insufficient investment in social protection continues to serve as a bottleneck to increasing food availability. Nigeria has rolled out many initiatives to address food-related issues, including agricultural education, research and innovation and quality control. The current Nigerian Government, which has been in power for four months, declared a state of emergency on food security and put in place measures, including distribution of fertilizers and palliatives. The multifaceted and still unfolding effects of violent conflicts and wars, climate change disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic require concrete and robust transformative actions that can address the food security situation.
JASSIM SAYAR A. J. AL-MAAWDA (Qatar), aligning himself with the Gulf Cooperation Council, stressed the need to address the deep-seated causes of famine and poverty. International humanitarian law imposes on parties to a conflict that they will not attack civilians and civilian infrastructure or use food as a weapon of war, he said. He also reported that Qatar devotes a significant portion of its international aid to addressing hunger, providing $43 million in 2023 in response to the Secretary-General’s appeal and $20 million to the Black Sea Grain Initiative to help African countries. It has further contributed $90 million to WFP to respond to urgent needs in Yemen and provided aid airlifts for Sudan and Afghanistan. He further recalled the launch of the Global Dry Land Alliance, an initiative to fill in gaps in scientific research in that domain.
ANTONIO RODRIGUE (Haiti) said that the link between conflict and food security, including famine, no longer needs to be demonstrated, as it is articulated in resolution 2417 (2018). Commending international efforts, he said however that such measures have not produced results commensurate with what is at stake. Haiti is affected by food insecurity largely due to gang violence, which remains unchecked, including in metropolitan areas. According to a recent United Nations report, 5 million people in Haiti face acute food insecurity, of which 1.8 million are in emergency conditions. Aware of the scale of the food crisis, the Government has taken concrete steps, including re-establishing school canteen programmes, he said, calling on the international community to support national efforts. Haiti and the United Nations also signed a 5-year cooperation framework on sustainable development. Welcoming Kenya’s offer to lead a multinational force that will help the Haitian National Police fight armed gangs, he expressed hope that the Council will quickly authorize its deployment.
SARAH SAFYN FYNEAH (Liberia) expressed deep concern over the alarming rise in global food insecurity caused by armed conflict and climate extremes, noting that it poses a threat to national and international peace and security. Strongly condemning the use of food as a weapon of war, he recognized the significant role of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in preventing humanitarian disaster and lamented the Russian Federation’s termination of that agreement. She underscored that, through innovative partnerships and collaboration, the international community can begin to confront the challenges of famine and conflict-induced global food insecurity. “Thus, this debate is a defining moment for us to take stock of where we are and what needs to be done to positively impact our world,” she noted.
GABRIELE CACCIA, Permanent Observer for the Holy See, said the present situation necessitates responsible and multilateral cooperation. All Member States must place efforts to meet basic human needs above political and partisan interests and “avoid treating foodstuff as mere commodities awarded to the highest bidder”. He reiterated calls for the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and urged the cessation of attacks on infrastructure crucial to the transport of agricultural products, food, and other supplies essential to the survival of civilian populations. He further urged Member States to protect “our common home” and fight climate change, whose ravages have had an impact on local food systems.
The representative of India, taking the floor for a second time, said one delegation consistently seeks to exploit various United Nations platforms to further its agenda. Emphasizing that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India is non-negotiable, he deemed it unnecessary to further engage in arguments or debates with those who resort to terrorism to advance their unlawful goals. He advised that country to address internal matters and restore order within its own borders “rather than indulging in frivolous allegations against my country”.
The representative of Pakistan, responding to that delegate, said “the biggest falsehood that India keeps repeating” is that Kashmir is a so-called integral part of that country. All relevant Council resolutions state that the final disposition of Kashmir will be determined by its people through a United Nations-supervised plebiscite, which India has accepted and with which it is bound to comply. If India has nothing to hide, it must accept a United Nations commission of inquiry and implement the resolution on that plebiscite.