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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Four Famines

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Inigo Lambertini, Vice Rappresentante Permanente e Charge’ d’Affaires a.i. dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite,al Briefing in Consiglio di Sicurezza su Four Famines —

Mr. President,

I join others in thanking the Secretary General for his briefing and for his commitment on the critical issue as the Four Famines.
Italy remains deeply concerned about the devastating levels of extremism, instability, violence and conflicts that are currently taking place on the world’s scale and that result in famine conditions and starvation, chiefly in four regions of the world: South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and northeastern Nigeria, critically affecting more than 20 million people. Let us put it clearly: this is perhaps the largest humanitarian crisis the world has ever witnessed, with particularly devastating impact on the most vulnerable, such as women, children and persons with disabilities.

Since we lastly discussed these issues in the Security Council, at the Arria Formula Meeting that Italy co-organised with other partners last June and in the PRST adopted last August, the situation has not improved, rather the contrary: despite the fact that famine has been contained in South-Sudan, the number of people food-insecure has increased, reaching the record number of over 800 million across the world.

Hence, there is no further time to lose to prevent the worst effects of such crises and contrast those already occurring.
Italy has always believed in the importance of consolidating a multi-dimensional approach to tackle the issue of Famines.
First, it is clear that these famines are man-made, conflict-driven crises. However, as we have been long advocating, we believe that we should also pay attention to the bi-directionality of the relation between conflicts and food insecurity, coming to realize that food insecurity can fuel even more violence, prolonging conflict and bringing about people’s displacements. In particular, the role of food insecurity as “root cause” of forced migrations has been recently highlighted by an in-depth WFP Report (“At the root of Exodus: Food Security, conflict and International Migration”).

In this regard, we must step up our efforts to strengthen the agricultural and food systems resilience of areas at risk, so as to render them less vulnerable to possible future shocks, honoring the commitment that we made last May at the Taormina Summit, under our Presidency of the G-7. In this regard, I wish also to recall the seminar held last week in Rome on Conflicts and Hunger co-organized by Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland in partnership with FAO and WFP, which is a part of a 3-legged cycle of seminar which aims at highlighting the link between conflicts and food security as a key to tackle these issues and in a holistic and effective way.

Second, in terms of methodology, we convincedly back an early engagement of the Council on these issues, through early warning mechanisms and early action, in terms of breaking the cycle of violence, ensuring full humanitarian access and immediate disbursing of pledged funds. In this specific case of the Four Famines, I wish to pay tribute to the spirit of initiative and to the leadership of the Secretary-General, who exercised his faculty of providing early warning to the Council in his February’ and June’s letters. If we have been able to provide some effective and timely responses to the ongoing crises, we owe a big portion of that to his initiative.

Third, on a broader perspective, Italy believes that the growing commitment of the Security Council on humanitarian issues witnessed this year goes into the right direction, as these clearly fall within this body’s mandate for the wide-ranging implications on international peace and security. We must take an holistic approach when dealing with peace and security issues and we therefore encourage Member States to keep this issue high on the Council’s agenda also in the future.

I thank you.