Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC meeting on impediments to famine relief in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UNSC meeting on impediments to famine relief in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria

Mr. President.

I thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive briefing on the threat of famine in the countries and international efforts to mitigate the situation.

The unprecedented level of global humanitarian needs and food crises currently faced by over 20 million people in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and in north-east Nigeria is a serious problem.

The protracted conflicts and violence in these countries have hindered an effective humanitarian response in the short and long term and, therefore, are the main driver behind the resurgence of hunger in the above situations.

Especially alarming is the situation in Yemen. Millions there are facing a triple threat: food shortages, cholera, violence. 15 million people lack adequate access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, and health services. 7 million people at risk of famine.

Ukraine commends the UN and all other humanitarian partners for the work they have done to deliver life-saving assistance to the Yemeni people. We appreciate the noble efforts of the World Food Programme which provided aid to 7 million people in August. We urge the parties to ensure sustainable delivery of commercial and humanitarian supplies.

Another situation with unacceptably high levels of acute food insecurity is in north-east Nigeria. During the visit of the Security Council to the Lake Chad Basin we had a chance to witness how the region faces this challenge, which is caused by the compounding effects of the escalated conflict and insecurity. It all resulted in massive displacements, reduced agricultural activity and harvests, market disruptions.

We are concerned about millions of Somalis who are in need of assistance due to malnutrition and food insecurity and risk of starvation due to persistent climatic variability and armed conflict.

Nearly half of Somalia’s population is in need of humanitarian assistance, many of whom are women and children. Not only food, simple water became an issue for more than 4.5 million people.

Ukraine applauds the collective efforts by humanitarian partners to ease famine conditions in South Sudan earlier this year and to stave off famine from taking hold elsewhere. Yet, this does not mean that food insecurity in South Sudan is over. A record-high 1.7 million people are on the brink of famine in this country.

All this largely man-made suffering will continue as long as the civil war rumbles on.

Dear colleagues,

As we can see, violence is the single biggest contributing factor depriving local populations of access to even most basic needs. In other words, the current hunger crises unfolding before our eyes are, first of all, man-made. It means that they are fully preventable, were it not for irresponsible actions of men.

In this light, we welcome the joint work of the Security Council and the Secretary-General to pursue all possible ways to end conflicts, including by addressing their underlying root causes in a comprehensive and sustainable manner.

At the same time, we regret that in the conflict-affected Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and in north-east Nigeria, certain parties have failed to ensure unfettered and sustained access for deliveries of vital food assistance as well as other forms of humanitarian aid.

We call on all parties to armed conflicts to respect and protect civilians. It is also important to recall the obligation to uphold international humanitarian law not only to direct participants in conflicts, but also to those who influence them .

It is also important to ensure the safety of humanitarian operations and personnel in conflict-affected countries. We call on all parties to respect and protect medical facilities and personnel.

Dear colleagues,

Ukraine highly appreciates the efforts of international donors to provide humanitarian assistance in response to these food crises, and also stresses the need to strengthen the long-term recovery and resilience of the conflict-affected Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and in north-east Nigeria.

We are firmly convinced of the need to continue our joint efforts aimed at preventing famine in conflict-affected countries.