Aug 20, 2017, 6:51 PM
News Code: 82637786
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FAO cautions world on food crisis

Tehran, Aug 20, IRNA – World faces one of the largest food crises in 70 years, with 20 million people in four countries at risk of famine, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) declared.

The UN representative body in the Islamic Republic of Iran in a press release said: '20 million people in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen are at risk of famine and if no action is taken, an additional 10 million people will be threatened by famine.'

FAO's response came after the UN Security Council adopted a presidential statement acknowledging the link between conflict and famine.

The statement welcomed the UN Security Council's recognition of conflict as a major cause of famine, and the call to enhance longer-term recovery and resilience of conflict-affected countries.

Meanwhile, FAO Director-General José Graziano Da Silva said: 'We know through our work that countries with the highest levels of food insecurity are also those most affected by conflict.'

'FAO reaffirms our commitment to work with the UN system and member nations to address conflict-related food insecurity, and we echo the security council's call for greater access in conflict-affected countries so we can reach those in need,' he added.

According to the FAO statement, civil conflict is the driving factor in nine of the 10 worst humanitarian crises, underscoring the strong linkage between conflict and hunger. Post-conflict countries with high food insecurity are 40 percent more likely to relapse into conflict within a 10-year time span.

FAO has long raised awareness on the link between conflict and hunger, including when the Director General addressed the Security Council in July, the statement added.

It said: 'In a marshland area of South Sudan, the link between conflict and famine is clear. Families have fled violence to seek safety in the swamp, but they have very little means to feed themselves and hunger levels have soared. They are surviving on life-saving deliveries of food and fish they catch themselves using emergency fishing kits provided by FAO.'

The FAO statement noted: 'Agriculture is often the main livelihood for the majority of people in conflict-affected situations, even as violence rages around them. For this reason, FAO works with its partners in often extremely challenging security contexts to provide rural livelihood support. In Syria, for example, a FAO survey in 2016 found that over 75 percent of households in rural areas still grow food for their own consumption, even if at a reduced scale.'

'Investing in sustainable food production can also be a pathway to peace. FAO has developed a corporate peace building policy to amplify its contribution to conflict prevention. In Colombia, FAO has partnered with the country's Rural Development Agency to support policies aimed at restoring rural areas that were affected by armed conflict, to bolster the peace process by rebuilding rural communities, and to increase the country's agricultural competitiveness,' it added.

The statement noted: 'Combining efforts to restore and support resilient livelihoods with peace building and conflict resolution efforts is critical for sustainable development and food security. Equally, investing in food security may strengthen efforts to prevent conflict and achieve sustained peace.'