I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
We thank Ms Hilal Elver, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food for the presentation of an insightful report and for today’s presentation. The EU continues to fully support her important mandate.
Madame Special Rapporteur,
We welcome the focus of your report on the right to food in emergency situations which deserves the attention of all of us, given the urgency and the scale of the problem. As you note in your report, news of declining poverty and hunger worldwide are encouraging yet at the same there are historically high incidences of famine and humanitarian emergencies. More than 20 million people faced food insecurity this year, and we once again witnessed a return of famine in South Sudan. In Syria, the magnitude of humanitarian needs is overwhelming. The EU and its MS as the main humanitarian donor will continue addressing the urgent needs in food security in Syria.
The EU is deeply concerned by the humanitarian crises in North-Eastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. We must respond urgently, coordinated and at scale to assist some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. This is our collective and shared responsibility. The EU and its member states have already allocated 1.8 billion euros which represents about 80% of the funds the UN appeal has received. However, funding is only part of the solution.
Again and again, we must address the underlying root causes of vulnerability and tackle the key drivers of fragility to enable populations to get back on the pathway to development. Our support to end conflict and violence is crucial, also to enable full humanitarian access to the people in need. Famine can only be prevented if people can move safely to reach aid, and if humanitarian agencies have safe access to them. Full humanitarian access must be provided at all times by all parties in line with international humanitarian principles and laws. We also need to be innovative in our solutions to crises: working with the local private sector, we must protect commercial supplies where we can, and strive to protect population capacity to provide for themselves.
Above all, we need political solutions if we are to address these famine and pre-famine situations in a sustainable manner. Working with the UN, we must show unity of purpose and sustained leadership and investment in peaceful and inclusive societies.
Madame Special Rapporteur,
What concrete measures can States take to guarantee that food assistance reaches the entire population in conflict zones without discrimination? How can the international community assist in that respect, also ensuring that the maximum available resources are distributed without discrimination and based on needs and vulnerability in accordance with humanitarian principles?