ACTION AGAINST HUNGER Calls for Global ceasefire to Address Conflict-related Hunger

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Action Against Hunger

By Action Against Hunger

Action Against Hunger welcomes briefing by the UN Security Council on Protecting Civilians Affected by Conflict-Induced Hunger. The organization says according to the Global Report on Food Crises, the number of people facing food crises in the world has increased for the fourth year in a row.

Nearly two years after the unanimous adoption of Resolution 2417 in May 2018, conflict remains the primary driver of food insecurity. The COVID-19 pandemic will further exacerbate conflict-induced hunger — underscoring the urgent need for Security Council support for a global ceasefire to enable essential humanitarian and medical personnel to respond to the pandemic.

“Action Against Hunger has long-championed Security Council action to reduce conflict-related hunger. We call for enhanced implementation of Resolution 2417, as well as full support for the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire, allowing us to safely reach and assist civilians in countries where we operate. Conflict—the effects of which are now complicated by COVID-19 — continues to threaten the lives and livelihoods of people we serve,” said Mamadou Diop, Representative for Action Against Hunger’s Regional Office in West and Central Africa.

Insecurity, lack of access, and counter-terrorism restrictions limit how we can assist people. Preventing and responding to conflict is the primary responsibility of the Security Council, but inaction over the past years, has placed the onus on humanitarian actors to respond to the impacts of political crises.

Action Against Hunger is particularly concerned about the deteriorating situation in the Sahel, where recent projections are similar to the 2012 Food Crisis — a crisis in which 18.7 million people faced extreme food insecurity. There are now 1.1 million displaced people in Burkina Faso, Mali and Western Niger, a figure that increased 290% in the past year.

Approximately four million people are estimated to be currently experiencing a food crisis in the Central Sahel, nearly quadruple the average of the last five years. Between June and August — the lean season — the number of food insecure people is projected to increase to 5.5 million. Because of the impact of COVID-19, the number of people facing a food crisis could grow by 13.8 million people and total 19 million across Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Conflict in the Sahel has had a devastating impact on livelihoods — specifically on freedom of movement, access to markets and the use of certain types of necessary agricultural inputs. Roughly 3,600 schools and 240 health centers have been forced to close due to violence.

“The warning bells have been ringing: Food security indicators as dire as what we see in the Sahel — mostly due to conflict — must be a call to action for the international community. As outlined in Resolution 2417, the Secretary-General has a clear responsibility to raise the alarm to the Security Council,” said Diop.

COVID-19, although a health crisis, will exacerbate already existing food and nutrition insecurity and drive vulnerable communities deeper into hunger and poverty. The response will require significant investment from the international community — investments that cannot come at the expense of existing humanitarian responses.

To prevent additional deaths from hunger and adapt to rapidly changing operational contexts, donors should provide sufficient, quickly dispersible and flexible funding to support conflict-sensitive, multi-year, integrated responses to conflict and hunger and COVID-19.

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