United Nations, Aug 4 (IANS) Expressing concern about countries facing hunger and the threat of famine due to conflicts, the UN Security Council has called for increasing assistance to ameliorate the problem.In a statement adopted under the presidentship of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, the Council asked nations "to make all efforts to increase humanitarian and development assistance and funding to food assistance and humanitarian needs, including through UN agencies".
Blinken said the Council "has unanimously put conflict, hunger, and famine, as well as climate change, at the centre of its agenda".
"We simply cannot preserve peace and security without strengthening food security," he said.
The statement said that the "Council expresses concern about insufficient humanitarian and development assistance and funding that is limiting efforts to address conflict-induced food insecurity and threat of famine".
It asked countries the resources to do more "to support vulnerable countries in the sustainable transformation of agriculture and food systems including through agro-ecological approaches and other innovative approaches, making them more resilient".
Blinken warned that by 2050 when the world’s population could reach 10 billion, "climate change could cut output by as much as 30 per cent even as global food demand increases by over 50 per cent. So we have a planet that’s heading in the current – in the coming decades to a population of as much as 10 billion people with demand going up in accordance, and yet supply is actually declining, not increasing".
To meet the challenge in Africa, where the food crisis is acute, he said that the US has launched the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils programme with the African Union and the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
"This focus on the quality of the seeds and the quality of the soil can have a powerful impact on sustainable agricultural productivity throughout Africa," he said.
"We’ll be looking to governments, to companies, to philanthropies, to help us continue to improve nutrition and invest in sustainable and resilient food systems," he added.
Blinken accused Russia of creating a global food crisis through the invasion of Ukraine and compounding it by withdrawing from the UN-sponsored agreement to allow exports from there and then bombing that country’s granaries and ports. He said that food prices have soared 8 per cent after Russia withdrew from the agreement known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative that allowed ships carrying Ukrainian wheat to move through the waters.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at email@example.com and followed at @arulouis)
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