NEW YORK, JUNE 15 – Among the most proactive countries to provide political and financial support, and to carry out advocacy efforts against famines that threaten over 20 million people four countries of the Middle East and Africa, Italy is convinced that the key word to make significant progress in this battle is “resilience”, the Italian Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Inigo Lambertini told a UN Security Council Arria Formula open meeting on “Responding to the Secretary General’s Call to Action on the Risk of Famine in the conflict- affected areas of Yemen, Somalia, South-Sudan and Northeast Nigeria”.
“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”, Lambertini told the Council, other member states, civil society and the news media: “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”.
Italy had co-organized the Council meeting along with the Missions of France, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Ethiopia, Senegal, Egypt, and Japan. Among the briefers, Italian Andrea Tamburini, CEO of Action Against Hunger, spoke about the challenges their organization is facing, working on the ground to address the food security crisis and its root causes. Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, speaking on behalf of the UN system, gave an update of the humanitarian situation in the countries that are worst affected. She also provided an outlook on countries that are currently not affected but are at a high risk of becoming food- insecure.
With over 20 million people threatened, according to the WFP estimates, famine has been formally declared in parts of South Sudan, and it is also estimated that northern Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen are very close to crossing the famine threshold. Access constraints and insecurity continue to hamper the response, both in the short and medium term. An elevated risk of famine persists in the north-east of Nigeria, where famine may have already occurred. Some areas remain inaccessible to humanitarian organizations, leaving affected people in life-threatening conditions. Some 100,000 people are already facing famine in South Sudan, while 1 million people are on the brink. Due to consecutive and severe droughts, the risk of famine persists in Somalia, especially in agro-pastoral areas of Bay and Bakool and the Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone. Yemen is facing the largest food insecurity emergency in the world. The situation in all four countries also constitute a major protection crisis. Women and children are often particularly vulnerable and particularly hard hit. (@OnuItalia)