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We cannot end hunger as long as there is conflict

In his first briefing to the UN Security Council, World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley, calls on member countries to help end conflicts and secure humanitarian access in addressing some of the worst humanitarian crises in the history of the UN.

According to a dispatch, the high-level event on the links between conflict and hunger also included a briefing by USG/ERC for Humanitarian Affairs, Mr. Mark Lowcock.

The event was convened by the Netherlands during its month-long presidency of the Security Council, and chaired by Netherlands’ Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms. Sigrid Kaag. This session followed on from the 2017 discussion series conveyed by the Netherlands and Switzerland in their role as Chairs of the Group of Friends on Food Security and the Group of Friends on Protection of Civilians at the UN in New York, with meetings in Rome and in Geneva, leading to a report “Conflict and hunger: breaking a vicious cycle”.

Both the WFP boss and Mr. Lowcock referenced the recently-launched Global Report on Food Crises 2018, noting that the number of food-insecure persons is on the rise, with 815 million people facing food insecurity, 60 percent of whom live in conflict-affected areas. They stressed the increasing levels of acute hunger attributable to new or intensified conflicts, highlighting the main drivers of acute food insecurity in 18 countries, and cite devastating conditions in countries such as South Sudan, Syria and Yemen, respectively.

In remarks, Ms. Kaag calls for a firm stance against violations of international law, strengthening of efforts to prevent food insecurity in conflict areas and ensuring political solutions to conflict situations.

Most Member States welcomed the briefing and made strong supporting comments, calling for warring parties who violate international humanitarian law by using starvation as a weapon of warfare and denying humanitarian access to be held accountable by the Security Council, with some suggesting sanctions and other measures.

Members of the Security Council reiterate the need for early warning data on the humanitarian consequences of conflict as well as underline the need to enhance longer-term recovery and resilience building work in conflict-affected countries.

While most Members receive this briefing very positively, few expressed concerns at having a stand-alone agenda item on food security and conflict. Instead, they stress that food security should only be discussed as part of existing country-specific Council briefings, cautioning against linking hunger and conflict at the expense of other factors such as global economic stagnation and weather conditions. Dispatch

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