UN chief urges global response to climate-induced food insecurity, conflict-Xinhua

UN chief urges global response to climate-induced food insecurity, conflict

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-02-14 00:11:45

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged a worldwide response to the challenges posed by climate-driven food insecurity and conflict.

Addressing the Security Council high-level open debate on the impact of climate change and food insecurity on the maintenance of international peace and security, the UN chief called for global action to "build a livable, sustainable future, free from hunger, and free from the scourge of war."

Guterres painted a grim picture of the current global situation, where "a global food crisis is creating a hellscape of hunger and heartache for many of the world's poorest people," compounded by the fact that "the climate crisis is accelerating with a deadly force -- last year was the hottest ever."

He emphasized the direct correlation between these crises and peace, noting that "empty bellies fuel unrest."

The secretary-general invoked a proverb to illustrate the dire consequences of food scarcity, "In Portugal, we have a saying: 'In a house with no bread, everyone argues, and no one is right.'"

He further elaborated on how climate disasters and conflict exacerbate inequalities, endanger livelihoods, and displace populations, potentially leading to heightened tensions and conflict, especially in regions with fragile institutions and marginalized communities.

Highlighting the disproportionate impact on women and girls, Guterres pointed out that "women and girls pay the highest price. Just as they do when food is short and climate disasters hit."

He also noted the alarming statistic that "climate and conflict were the main causes of acute food insecurity for almost 174 million people in 2022."

Drawing attention to specific regions, Guterres shared distressing examples from around the globe, including Syria, Myanmar, Gaza, Haiti, Ethiopia, and the Sahel, where the confluence of climate change and conflict has led to severe humanitarian crises.

In his call to action, Guterres outlined several critical steps to mitigate these threats, including adherence to international humanitarian law, full funding of humanitarian operations, conflict resolution, progress towards Sustainable Development Goals, climate action, and targeted financial interventions.

Guterres concluded with a message of hope and urgency, "The message is clear: we can break the deadly nexus of hunger, climate chaos, and conflict. And quell the threat they pose to international peace and security."