ECOSOC: Coordination and Management, 20th Meeting

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SIX OFFICIAL 20-Apr-2017 01:56:28
Economic and Social Council adopts texts addressing tax evasion, forum on forests and global geospatial matters, at 20th meeting of 2017 session.
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20 Million People at Serious Risk Due to Extreme Hunger, Panellists Warn

Prior to adopting resolutions on tax evasion and the United Nations Forum on Forests, as well as a decision on geospatial information, speakers informed the Economic and Social Council that the world was facing a serious crisis, with the lives of more than 20 million people now under serious threat due to extreme hunger.

Adopted without a vote was the resolution titled “United Nations code of conduct on cooperation in combating international tax evasion” contained in the report of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters on its twelfth and thirteenth sessions (document E/2016/45).

The Council also adopted without a vote a resolution contained in chapter I of the “Report of the United Nations Forum on Forests on its 2017 special session” (document E/2017/10), titled “United Nations strategic plan for forests 2017-2030 and quadrennial programme of work of the United Nations Forum on Forests for the period 2017-2020”. In addition, the Council adopted a decision titled “Report of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management on its sixth session and provisional agenda and dates for the seventh session of the Committee” contained in chapter I, section A, of that Committee’s report (document E/2016/46).

As part of its continued 2017 Coordination and Management Meetings, the Council explored the nexus between food security, nutrition and climate change through panel presentations. Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the right to food emphasized that millions of people were facing famine, which was far more threatening and complex than simple hunger. A significant number of people were dying despite the dire warning from scientists that drought was imminent due to the effects of climate change. Famine was not simply a natural occurrence, but in fact, was man-made, she underscored.

Famine in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen called for urgent action, stressed Marie Chatardova (Czech Republic), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council. While saving lives was a top priority, long-term resilience could only be achieved with an integrated approach to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Furthermore, climate change had increased the risk of weather-related disasters, jeopardizing livelihoods, access to adequate food, clean water and sanitary conditions, all of which were essential for good nutrition, Ms. Chatardova continued. Unless action was taken, some 35 million to 122 million people could fall into poverty.

The resilience of food production was being challenged as a result of climate change, highlighted Amira Gornass, Permanent Representative of Sudan to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Chair of that agency’s Committee on World Food Security. Nevertheless, climate change could also present an opportunity to revert back to the production of traditional crops, which were often more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Marcel Beukeboom, Climate Envoy of the Netherlands, joining the meeting via video link, pointed out that, as a climate envoy, his role was basically to “bring Paris home”; yet as soon as he began discussing climate, “too many people doze off”. Outlining some practical steps people could take to lower their carbon footprint, Mr. Beukeboom said the public itself could seek information about where their food comes from and cook it with sustainable energy.

Dietary changes towards more animal-based diets could increase agricultural and food greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 per cent by 2050, warned Stineke Oenema, Coordinator at the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition. The focus must be on limited meat consumption, balanced energy intake, reducing food waste, choosing seafood from non-threatened stocks, and eating more plants, she suggested; continuing: healthy and sustainable diets were those that had low environmental impacts and protected against malnutrition.

In addition to today’s panel discussion, the Council also heard presentations on the work of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Committee on World Food Security, the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition and the work of the United Nations Environment Assembly.

The Council will meet again Friday, 21 April, at 10 a.m. to continue its Coordination and Management Meeting.
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