FAO hails UN Security Council Resolution on hunger and conflict

Director-General says it stresses need to protect agriculture and local food systems in conflict areas

24 May 2018, Rome - A United Nations Security Council Resolution on hunger and conflict today won praise from FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva for underscoring the critical role of safeguarding food production and rural livelihoods even under conditions of extreme violence and instability.

"We strongly welcome this unprecedented move by the Security Council to explicitly recognize the impact of armed conflict on hunger through the often vast displacement of people from arable land, livestock grazing areas, and fishing grounds, as well as the destruction of food stocks and agricultural assets and the disruption of food markets," Graziano da Silva said.

The Resolution, officially termed 2417 (2018), was adopted unanimously.

Recent figures show that after almost a decade of decline, the number of people affected by hunger in the world has started to increase, with 815 million chronically undernourished in 2016. In 2017, some 124 million required life and livelihoods saving support to avoid the risk of drifting in a famine situation compared with 108 million in 2016.

"Conflict is the main driver of this reversal," Graziano da Silva said noting that around 60 percent of the hungry people live in countries affected by conflict.

"Through this Resolution, the Security Council is sending a clear message to all parties in armed conflict that they must protect civilians including their means to produce or access food such as farms, markets, water systems, and modes of transport.

"It also serves as a call on conflict parties not to threaten the survival of civilian populations by depriving them of crops or livestock and other critical assets," he added.

"Agriculture and food systems are badly affected by conflict and instability, but remain remarkably resilient. However, when these systems are lost, they are almost impossible to rebuild," the FAO Director-General said.

"FAO together with its partners including other UN agencies, works to provide food security and livelihood support  in conflict situations. These interventions, including natural resource management and social protection, contribute to sustaining peace," he said.

Since 2016, FAO together with the World Food Programme have regularly provided bi-annual briefings to the Security Council on food security in countries that it formally monitors.

Photo: ©FAO/Albert Gonzalez Farran
In conflict-ridden South Sudan FAO has distributed fishing kits to local communities.