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Security Council – Arria Formula Meeting on Famines

Statement delivered by Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council Arria Formula on Famines—

Mrs. Deputy Secretary-General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased today to be co-host of this informal meeting of the Members of the Security Council on the issue of Famines, one of most acute aspects of arguably the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of the Second World War, one that is affecting the most vulnerable and those left behind, in particular women and children, and is having devastating effects on the livelihoods and the economy of the countries affected.
I wish to thank our briefers for their remarks, first the Deputy Secretary-General and, through her, the whole UN system for the remarkable job they have been doing in countering this crisis.
Also special thanks go to World Bank and to my fellow Italian from Action Against Hunger: their participation in this meeting and their commitment to curb the crisis is the embodiment of our ‘New Way of Working’ in humanitarian affairs.
Italy has been since the outset of the crisis among the most proactive countries to provide political and financial support, and to carry out advocacy efforts.
These are clearly man-made, conflict-driven crises. Extremism, instability, violence and conflicts are all concurrent drivers of severe, acute food insecurity and malnutrition. However, at the same time, we should also consider the likely bi-directionality of these phenomena, reflecting on how these variables – poverty, food insecurity, conflicts, migrations, among others – fuel and interact with each other. Indeed, as noted by an very insightful recent joint report by FAO and WFP, it is not only violence that leads to food insecurity, but food insecurity can fuel even more violence, prolonging conflict and concurring, with other variables, to internal and external displacements.
In this regard, as also just underlined by the Deputy Secretary-General, we believe that the key word to make significant progress in this battle is “resilience”.
Building long term resilience to future shocks is fundamental. If agricultural and food systems are weak, under stress and underdeveloped in ordinary times, they will be much less likely to resist to disasters, extreme climate events, conflicts and violence.
It is of the utmost importance that we are successful in transforming food systems, increasing both their productivity and sustainability, and that we invest in ways that make food chains more resilient to shocks and unexpected stress, thus preventing crises and critical situations, such the ones we are facing today. There is evidence that resilient food systems become self-sustaining in the long run – even in the case of prolonged violence – to the point where investing in building resilience can potentially eliminate food insecurity among the drivers of conflict.
And exactly in this direction go the decisions taken by the G-7 Summit in Taormina a couple of weeks ago, under Italy’s Presidency, where we committed, while confirming our support for the Secretary General’s call for urgent action in South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria, “to strengthening the international humanitarian system to prevent, mitigate and better prepare for future crises, while strengthening engagement to build resilience” and to overall “raise our collective support for food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa”.
To conclude, what just outlined is exactly at the heart of what we consider to be the integrated vision between Peace and Security and Sustainable development stemming from the 2030 Agenda and the approach of “Sustaining Peace”. This is in our view the right path to follow.

I thank you.