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FAO to provide UN Security Council with regular analysis on food security

The Director-General travelled to New York earlier this week to speak before the UN Security Council on FAO’s role in linking food security initiatives with sustainable peace efforts


The Director-General addressed the members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday in what was FAO’s first appearance before the principal UN body on global peace and security affairs.

Organized by the governments of Spain and Angola – the latter holding the UNSC presidency during March – the event helped cast light on the linkages guiding food security efforts in vulnerable communities in the broader context of sustainable development and lasting peace in many of the world’s ongoing conflicts. Convened under the Arria-Formula, an informal working method used to discuss pressing issues related to peace and development with outside experts, the Council members engaged in open discussions through this meeting that specifically focused on food security, nutrition, and peace.

It is in this context that the Director-General and Ambassador Gaspar Martins of Angola agreed that FAO would provide the UNSC members with a periodic report every three months on the state of food insecurity in conflict-afflicted countries that are high on the Security Council agenda. Among others, the report would include latest developments on countries like Syria, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. 

In stressing the importance of investing in resilience and food security, the Director-General highlighted the close relationship between food secure societies and the prevention of future conflicts.

“I am proud to have FAO in this discussion and we feel as part of your team in this journey against hunger and food insecurity in countries in conflict,” Ambassador Martins said.

Thus, from providing food and farming assistance during precarious stabilisation ventures hampered by food insecurity in Yemen and the Central African Republic, to FAO’s assistance to Syrian farmers struggling to regain their pre-conflict outputs, Graziano da Silva underscored the Organization’s unique positioning and current efforts in aiding those communities facing uncertain livelihoods. 

“Although the relationships between hunger and conflict are complex and nonlinear, food insecurity is a factor that can contributes to the destabilization of societies and aggravate political instability,” the Director-General said, emphasising the role of food and farming amid conflicts.

Furthermore, FAO’s recent partnership with Colombia in supporting rural development projects as the country prepares for a peace treaty seeking to end a conflict of more than 50 years likewise represents FAO’s strategic positioning in complementing peace efforts via inclusive measures to safeguard sustainable agricultural practices and the access and availability of food for all. In supporting rural livelihoods, one can help bring post-conflict communities together, who in turn can reap “peace dividends” from sustainable development and peace, the Director-General believes.

Food insecurity in these and other countries can also be assessed via applicable early warning mechanisms like the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) and the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS).

“Where hunger threatens peace, we must contribute to mitigating that risk through conflict-sensitive food security approaches,” the Director-General concluded, urging UNSC members to engage in joint cooperation among one another and with FAO in achieving the 2030 Development Agenda, even in times of sensitive ongoing conflicts and threatened peace efforts. 

During his visit to New York, the Director-General also met the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). He affirmed FAO’s collaboration ahead of the International Humanitarian Summit to be hosted in Istanbul in May, especially in efforts concerning climate change and resilience, including FAO’s forthcoming deployment of an early warning system for livelihood distorting events like the El Niño phenomenon.

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