The UAE would like to thank the United States for prioritizing this important matter during its presidency of the Security Council.
The UAE recognizes the importance of food security to ensure human security. Therefore, the UAE has been actively supporting the UN in its global efforts to supply necessary provisions, including food, to those in need in conflict zones. This included the establishment of an air bridge operation in May 2020, in partnership with the WFP, that reconnected aid operations with a supply of medical equipment, goods and expertise in a time where food insecurity in conflict areas was exacerbated by COVID-19. The operation delivers needed supplies from the UAE to key locations across Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. In addition, the UAE recently announced USD 230 million in funding for the United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen in continuation of its efforts to alleviate hunger and suffering in the region and across the world.
Conflict-driven food insecurity is causing millions to suffer in conflicts around the world, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. Protracted conflicts, in particular, pose grave risk for the health and livelihoods of women, men, and children. This was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic which caused disruptions to humanitarian aid and worsened the situation, in areas already devastated by conflict. Therefore, the UAE welcomes Security Council Resolution 2565, which called for increased international cooperation to facilitate COVID-19 vaccine access in conflict situations. Furthermore, the impact of climate change, as both a driver of conflict and of food insecurity, exacerbates the worsening of the situation of civilians in conflict areas. By unanimously adopting resolution 2417, the Security Council showed its determination to address conflict-induced food insecurity.
The UAE believes that the Council must continue its efforts to ensure full implementation of this resolution. The UAE would like to make three recommendations to improve food security in conflict zones.
First, humanitarian aid cannot be used as a bargaining chip. What we have seen in places like Yemen where the Houthis repeatedly obstruct the delivery of aid is unacceptable. The Council must unequivocally condemn such acts by those armed groups and demand they fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.
Second, in his reports to the Security Council, the Secretary-General could incorporate lessons from scientific models that forecast natural disasters. Council members could take such risk factors into account when discussing the situation on issues on its agenda. Predictive modeling for natural disasters and disease outbreaks is sophisticated and could be an integral asset in the Council’s efforts for preventative action. While this does not apply to manmade disasters, anticipatory action can help us all prepare for the impact of natural phenomena on food insecurity.
Third, women and youth need to be part of the equation when it comes to reaching a sustainable solution for conflict-induced food insecurity. Both in the short and the long term, the specific needs of women and youth have to be prioritized since food insecurity disproportionately affect their lives.
We are encouraged by the Security Council’s continued attention to this topic. International collaboration is required if we are to mitigate and resolve this clear threat to international peace and security. The UAE will continue to focus on addressing this scourge during our Council term in 2022-2023.