Committee on World Food Security

Making a difference in food security and nutrition

CFS Chair calls for unrestricted humanitarian access to prevent famine in Gaza

22 Mar 2024

The Chairperson of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), H.E. Ambassador Nosipho Nausca-Jean Jezile, expresses grave concern in light of the alarming updates on the humanitarian situation in Gaza provided by the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis. It confirms the imminent threat of famine in northern Gaza, expected to occur between mid-March and May 2024. At present, it is estimated that 1.1 million individuals, which is roughly half of Gaza's population, are facing catastrophic levels of hunger.

The concerns align with those raised during the 51st session of the CFS, which stressed the need to refrain from using food and water as weapons of war in conflict areas, and expressed the need for reliable, sustained, sufficient and unhindered access of essential goods and services to civilians throughout the Gaza Strip and in other conflict areas, including but not limited to water, food, medical supplies, and energy.

Underscoring its important mandate on food security and nutrition for the realization of the Right to Adequate Food for all, the CFS has established a workstream on "Collaborative governance for coordinated policy responses to emerging global food crises towards sustainable agriculture and food system transformation". In this context, the CFS, informed by evidence-based inputs from its High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, seeks to contribute to ongoing discussions on current emerging food crises and their long-term implications, as well as to facilitate collaborative policy responses towards the realization of the Right to Food.

Given the gravity of the situation in Gaza, it is imperative that prompt action is taken. An immediate and concerted response would enable access to the Gaza strip for aid agencies to provide urgently needed food, water and medical supplies to the civilian population in order to alleviate the threat of famine.

The Rome-based Agencies and others have emphasized the need for humanitarian intervention in response to the recent developments in Gaza. I share these concerns and echo the urgent calls for a humanitarian ceasefire and unrestricted humanitarian access to address the immediate needs of the civilian population. It is vital that the international community acts rapidly to prevent a further escalation of the crisis and to alleviate the suffering of those affected.

For more details, please see the recent FAO and WFP press releases.