29 April 2020

Deeply Concerned by Rise in Conflict-Induced Food Insecurity, Security Council Presidential Statement Calls for Adherence to Production, Access Obligations

The Security Council, recalling the link between armed conflict, violence and conflict-induced food insecurity and the threat of famine, called today on all parties to respect humanitarian principles and to comply with their international humanitarian law obligations regarding the production of, and access to, food.

In a statement (document SC/PRST/2020/6) issued by José Singer Weisinger (Dominican Republic), Council President for April, during an open videoconference*, the 15-member organ also underlined the importance of safe and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to civilians amidst armed conflict.

The statement followed a Council videoconference debate on 21 April on the topic, during which senior United Nations officials dealing with food issues said that acute food insecurity — much of it resulting from conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic — is on the rise in many parts of the world and threatens to reach “biblical proportions” without immediate, swift and coherent international action.  (See Press Release SC/14164.)

Recalling its resolution 2417 (2018) on armed conflict and food insecurity, and its presidential statement of 9 August 2017 (document S/PRST/2017/14) on the topic, the Council noted with deep concern that over the last two years, armed conflicts remained a major factor causing or aggravating food insecurity and undernutrition, with an increasing number of people requiring urgent food aid.

It also noted that many conflict-induced food crises can be compounded by such factors as economic crises, increasingly frequent and severe weather events and natural disasters.

Echoing resolution 2417 (2018), the Council strongly condemned the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare and the unlawful denial of access to humanitarian assistance and personnel to civilians in armed conflict  It also stressed the particular impact that armed conflicts have on women, children, persons with disabilities, refugees and internally displaced persons.

It called on all parties to armed conflict to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law regarding respect for, and the protection of, civilians and food-related civilian objects, including farms, markets, water systems, mills, food processing and storage sites, and hubs and means for food transportation.

It also call on those same parties to refrain from attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects that are indispensable to the survival of civilians — such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, agricultural assets, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works — and to respect and protect humanitarian relief operations.

The statement, which also reaffirmed the primary responsibility of States to protect their populations throughout their territory, went on to encourage Member States to support early warning systems to provide Governments and humanitarian actors with timely and accurate information on food security, allowing for early action to prevent and mitigate food crises in the context of armed conflicts.


* Based on information received from the Security Council Affairs Division.

For information media. Not an official record.