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Joint Nordic statement at the UN Security Council debate on Conflict and Hunger

Joint Nordic Statement delivered by Ms. Jenny Ohlsson, State Secretary for International Development Cooperation, on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden at the Security Council Debate on Conflict and Food Security, 19 May 2022, New York

Mr President, 

I will try to use my time wisely. We do not have a single minute to waste in halting the triple food, energy and finance crisis.

My remarks are made on behalf of the five Nordic countries.

Almost to the day four years ago, Sweden and three other elected Council members tabled resolution 2417 on conflict and hunger, which condemns the use of starvation as a method of warfare. The world was alarmed by the threat of famine and the 74 million people facing crisis food insecurity of worse. 

Since then, the number has almost quadrupled, to a staggering 275 million. A majority of them live in areas of conflict. As always, women and children are bearing the brunt of the burden.

If that is not an argument enough for seriously stepping up our efforts, I am not sure what would be.

With the Russian aggression against Ukraine, supported by Belarus, the situation has deteriorated further. I would like to thank the Secretary General, and other briefers for making this very clear – but also for the work done by you, and your colleagues, to alleviate the situation, often in extremely challenging situations. 

The actions needed are both immediate and systemic.

Skyrocketing humanitarian needs – on almost every continent – must be met by increased humanitarian funding. The humanitarian response plans for countries such as Somalia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar and the DRC are only funded to between 5 and 15 per cent. This list of underfunded crises is regrettably longer. And this is not statistics, it’s a question of life or death. These underfunded, protracted crises form fertile grounds for shocks to escalate into full blown crisis.

Life-saving assistance must reach people in need. Safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access must be ensured and respect for humanitarian principles guaranteed.

Equally urgent are measures to increase the supply of food. Russia must immediately allow the export of grain stuck in silos in Ukraine – enough to feed millions. Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine must stop. This is necessary also for Ukrainian agricultural production and export to restart. In all parts of the world, agricultural production systems should be developed to become sustainable and resilient to escalating climate change.

Similarly, there is an urgent need to end violent conflicts everywhere.

Building and sustaining peace improves conditions for small-hold farmers to access land, for communities to grow crops and diversify livelihoods, and for investments in sustainable and inclusive food systems - enabling agriculture to thrive, instead of being destroyed. It contributes to ensuring access to basic services and universal access to social protection.

Adequately financed peacebuilding can enhance food security and ensure longer-term development. We fully support the Secretary General in his work on a New Agenda for Peace and stand ready to contribute to its implementation.

Finally, the Nordic countries welcome recommendations made in the Global Crisis Response Group report. We stand ready to engage, including with the Danish Prime Minister as one of the ‘champions’ of the Group. And we are all co-sponsoring the draft General Assembly resolution State of Global Food Insecurity.  

We agree that this triple crisis is one which can only be addressed collectively and multilaterally. The International financial institutions and the humanitarian actors, local peacebuilders and regional organisations, private sector and the scientific community. The UN as a whole, and all of us member states. We all have a role to play, and a responsibility to shoulder.

I would therefore like to end by thanking you, Mr President, for bringing us together today to commit to doing more, together. We really need to. And we have no time to spare.

Thank you.

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