UN / CONFLICT HUNGER

11-Mar-2021 00:04:28
Conflict drives hunger, and when that turns to famine, then hunger and famine drive conflict, the UN chief told the Security Council on Thursday, adding that “if you don’t feed people, you feed conflict”. UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / CONFLICT HUNGER
TRT: 4:28
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 11 MARCH 2021, NEW YORK CITY
SHOTLIST
FILE

1. Exterior shot, national flags at the UN Headquarters
2. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual session
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“Today I have one simple message: if you don’t feed people, you feed conflict. Conflict drives hunger and famine and hunger and famine drive conflict. When a country or region is gripped by conflict and hunger, they become mutually reinforcing. They cannot be resolved separately.”
4. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual session
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“I must warn the Council that we face multiple conflict-driven famines around the world. Climate shocks and the COVID-19 pandemic are adding fuel to the flames. Without immediate action, millions of people will reach the brink of extreme hunger and death. Projections show hunger crises escalating and spreading across the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, and accelerating in South Sudan, Yemen and Afghanistan. There are more than 30 million people in over three dozen countries, just one step away from a declaration of famine.”
6. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual session
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“South Sudan is facing its highest levels of food insecurity since the country declared independence ten years ago. Sixty percent of the population are increasingly hungry. Food prices are so high that just one plate of rice and beans costs more than 180 per cent of the average daily salary – the equivalent of about 400 dollars here in New York. Chronic sporadic violence, extreme weather and the economic impact of COVID-19 have pushed more than seven million people into acute food insecurity.”
8. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual session
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“I have therefore decided to establish a High-Level Task Force on Preventing Famine, led by my Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock. This Task Force will include representatives from the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization. It will bring coordinated, high-level attention to famine prevention, and mobilize support to the most affected countries.”
10. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual session
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“While all countries face some economic strain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the solution does not lie in cutting aid to starving children. The disappointing outcome of last week’s High-Level Pledging Event on Yemen cannot become a pattern. I ask all countries to reconsider their responsibilities and their capacities. The relatively small amounts of money involved in humanitarian aid are an investment not only in people, but an investment in peace.”
12. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual session
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International:
“Ending this pandemic will not end hunger, but we won’t end hunger if we cannot end this pandemic. Rich nations must unlock global supply constrains and help get the vaccine to all who need it. Our failure to address hunger before the COVID crisis and a rampant inequality and climate change which had so often fuel the conflicts has left us scrambling to avert famine across the globe.”
14. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual session
15. SOUNDBITE (English) David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme:
“WFP estimates that at least 34 million people are knocking on the door of famine. These looming famines have two things in common. They are primarily driven by conflict, and they are entirely preventable. With modern forecasting improved agricultural practices and effective humanitarian organizations. Natural disasters are no longer plunged populations in famine. But make no mistake about it, man-made conflict is the real culprit.”
16. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual session
17. SOUNDBITE (English) David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme:
“The Security Council has a moral obligation to do everything in your power to end these wars. But until we can see that we need you to give us the funds to stop millions of people from dying from starvation. We were able to avert famine in 2020, and we can do it again. Please, don't ask us at the World Food Program, to choose which starving child lives and which one dies. Let's feed them all.”
18. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual session
STORYLINE
Conflict drives hunger, and when that turns to famine, then hunger and famine drive conflict, the UN chief told the Security Council on Thursday, adding that “if you don’t feed people, you feed conflict”.

“When a country or region is gripped by conflict and hunger, they become mutually reinforcing. They cannot be resolved separately.” Secretary-General António Guterres said via videoconference to the meeting which focused on how conflict and food security are interlinked.

At the end of 2020, more than 88 million people were suffering from acute hunger due to conflict and instability – a 20 per cent surge in one year – and 2021 projections point to a continuation of this trend, according to the United Nations.

He warned the Council of multiple conflict-driven famines globally, with climate shocks and COVID-19 “adding fuel to the flames”.

“Without immediate action, millions of people will reach the brink of extreme hunger and death”, Guterres said, noting that there are more than 30 million people in over three dozen countries, “just one step away” from famine.

He drew attention to hunger crises across the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, South Sudan, Yemen and Afghanistan while pointing out that reduced humanitarian access threatens food insecurity, including in Tigray, Ethiopia.

The UN chief spotlighted that hunger and death begin long before the highest levels of food insecurity.

The Secretary-General informed the Council that he was setting up a High-Level Task Force on Preventing Famine, led by UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock along with the World Food Programme (WFP), “to mobilize support to the most affected countries”.

Other Inter-Agency Standing Committee members will be involved as needed, including the World Health Organization, UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women.
Against the backdrop that the more than 34 million people are already facing emergency levels of acute food insecurity, the UN chief recalled WFP’s USD 5.5 billion appeal to avert catastrophe.

“While all countries face some economic strain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the solution does not lie in cutting aid to starving children”, he said, adding that “the disappointing outcome” of last week’s pledging event for Yemen “cannot become a pattern”.

Participating at the briefing, Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International called for the rich nations to “unlock global supply constraints and help get the vaccine to all who need it.”

“Ending this pandemic will not end hunger, but we won’t end hunger if we cannot end this pandemic,” she said, adding in “Our failure to address hunger before the COVID crisis and a rampant inequality and climate change which had so often fuel the conflicts has left us scrambling to avert famine across the globe.”

WFP chief David Beasley noted that looming famine emergencies are primarily driven by conflict.

“Make no mistake: man-made conflict is the real culprit”, he upheld, adding that they are “entirely preventable”.

The WFP chief detailed that people facing dire situations, including in Yemen, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and drew special attention to South Sudan, where he told of children being fed mud.

Following up on the Secretary-General’s call for USD 5.5 billion, Beasley urged the Council “to give us the funds to stop millions of people from dying from starvation. We were able to avert famine in 2020, and we can do it again.”

“Please, don’t ask us to choose which starving child lives, and which one dies. Let’s feed them all,” Beasley said.
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