Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative
Thank you, Madam President.
I would also like to thank Mr. Martin Griffiths, Mr. Maximo Torero, and Mr. David Beasley for their excellent briefings. And the magnitude of the crises they are describing is, as David said, of biblical proportions. Their projections of the hundreds of thousands of people who will experience catastrophic levels of food insecurity are indeed deeply alarming. And this call for action must not go unheeded.
Four years ago, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2417. And it recognized the impacts that armed conflict has on food security and expressed the Council’s intention to give its full attention to the issue. Since that time, the need for our dedicated attention to this has never been greater than it is today – and we thank those who have brought this forward to the Council’s attention.
I’d like to make the following points on the impacts of food insecurity on some of the conflict situations that we are considering today and that has been outlined by the briefers.
On Yemen, we reiterate that the Houthis need to end all violations of the current humanitarian truce and fully implement it to see our way through this. The OCHA note underlines how the blockading of roads by the Houthis in and out of Taiz is “perpetuating grave hardships for the civilian population”. And this purely humanitarian issue affecting millions of Yemenis needs to be resolved without delay. The note also makes clear how urgent economic support can improve the living conditions of the population.
In the Horn of Africa, including in Ethiopia and Somalia, agricultural activity continues to be undermined by climate change and phenomena like water scarcity, the degradation of farmlands, and deadly cycles of droughts and flash floods. The effects of this are severely exacerbated by conflict, violence, and displacement across the region. It’s critical to ensure that the millions of people who are at risk of starvation are able to access food. The international community should support the work of local and regional partners in the Horn to develop mechanisms that help communities build resilience to mitigate the risks of rising food insecurity. In Ethiopia in particular, it’s imperative to build on recent developments to reinvigorate the indefinite humanitarian truce, which was instrumental for the resumption of humanitarian aid.
And finally, on South Sudan, growing food insecurity has resulted from the complex dynamics and challenges the country is facing, including rising intercommunal tensions, the impact of climate change, and limited infrastructure. Our collective efforts to address the humanitarian needs of the people of South Sudan are now more critical than ever.
On the broader impacts of food insecurity globally, I’d like to raise three issues:
First, we know that singular, short-term approaches will not be sufficient in addressing the impact of armed conflict, rising food prices, stalled economic growth, and disruptions in global supply chains. Conflict parties must engage constructively to forge frameworks for ongoing cooperation on issues such as humanitarian access, security challenges, and food distribution. Food insecurity is indeed part of a symptom of deeper divides. The added benefit of this approach is that technical cooperation between parties to address food security at a technical level can actually help build the confidence that is necessary to achieve broader political progress on the issues underlying the conflict.
Second, we need to do more to alleviate the impacts of the global food crisis today, exacerbated by recent conflict. Ukraine and Russia accounted for 12 percent of all calories traded globally, and some 26 countries relied on them for 50 percent of their grains. The UAE, as a country that imports the majority of our foodstuffs, understands the vulnerabilities that food importers are exposed to. To make matters worse, the increase in fertilizer prices is putting further pressure on food producers, increasing costs, reducing yields, and threatening future harvests. Ukrainian grain and other foodstuffs must reach those most in need, and not just those able to pay. Likewise, as was pointed out in the briefing we heard at the start of this meeting, fertilizers play a critical role in ensuring future harvests, and Russian fertilizers must be able to reach global markets to help ensure that future agricultural production is not further imperiled.
And third, the current food security crisis is a telling example of how the impacts of climate change can contribute to insecurity. Developing countries, and especially fragile states, are more exposed to climate-induced natural disasters that in turn drive down agricultural output. This is impacting the lives and livelihoods of millions around the world. Yet currently only $2 per capita of climate finance reach extremely fragile countries, 80 times less than other developing countries, which are also underserved. We must prioritize investments in early warning systems, anticipatory action, and agricultural resilience. And we must increase the risk appetite of international financial institutions. In the Council, the UAE has been consistently advocating for taking more unconventional drivers of conflict systematically into account – for instance by receiving regular updates on risk factors in fragile settings. This in turn will help preventative action by the Council to address the worsening security and humanitarian situations of concern.
Climate and food security are closely intertwined, and both are key to maintaining international peace and security. The UAE looks forward to working with all the members of the Council, and with all Member States, to ensure that food security is given the global attention it deserves.
Thank you, Madam President.