Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UN Security Council Arria formula meeting on food security, nutrition and peace

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the UN Security Council Arria formula meeting on food security, nutrition and peace

29 March 2016

I would like to welcome the initiative of my colleagues from Angola and Spain to convene this Arria formula meeting to address one of the essential aspects of maintaining international peace and security. It is a good opportunity to discuss in this broader format the links between peace, food security and conflict prevention policy at global and national levels.

In our opinion, it is extremely important that all Security Council members embrace opportunities presented by Arria formula meetings to discuss subjects usually absent from the Council’s agenda.

Ukraine consistently advocated the nexus of peace and food security. My country has a tragic experience of being the victim of a genocidal crime against its people, when in 1932–33 an artificial famine — Holodomor — was imposed on the Ukrainian people by the Soviet communist ruler Stalin.

We believe that the international community must exert all possible efforts — both at international and national levels — to prevent attempts to use hunger and starvation as a method of oppression, or an element of the hybrid warfare or state policy.

Ukraine has for many years cooperated with World Food Programme as a reliable and contributing partner. However, since recently my country has started to face a different type of problems.

As a result of the Russian aggression, which began with illegal occupation of the Crimean peninsula and is now continuing with the ongoing military invasion in the Donbas, my country has to address the needs of a large portion of our population displaced as a result of the conflict. Now we have 1.6 million IDPs, and all these people need humanitarian aid, including food.

An even higher number of people (around 2.3 million) residing in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that are now under a de facto Russian control do not have adequate access to nutrition. These facts speak volumes about the intrinsic links between food security and peace. Where there is no peace, people are immediately exposed to the risks of food insecurity, and sometimes starvation and hunger. The Russia-supported terrorists must stop blocking operation of international humanitarian organizations on the territories under their control.

We believe that long-term inter-linkages between food security and conflicts should be addressed at global and national levels. Remnants of war, such as landmines and other unexploded devices, continue to put civilian lives at risk, hampering their peacetime activities, including agricultural works. In this regard, a conducive and equitable international assistance with full understanding of local conditions will be crucial in achieving development objectives and eradicating the threat of hunger.

An equally important lesson to be drawn is the longer the Council remains idle on the matter of resolution of each and every conflict, the longer local populations will suffer from all kinds of hardships, including inadequate access to food.

Having said this I call on my Council colleagues to recall today’s discussion whenever there is a hint of temptation to delay consideration of a conflict situation, to delegate responsibility somewhere else or to simply ignore the problem under any pretext (“big power rivalries”, “bilateral nature of a conflict”, misplaced “sovereignty concerns”, etc.).