Conflict and hunger: Breaking a vicious cycle
This report (PDF) by the Swiss’ and Netherlands missions to the UN presents the findings and recommendations from a series of seminars on the link between conflict and hunger. Conflict and hunger are both on the rise again. There is broad recognition that the two reinforce each other in a vicious cycle and that conflict is a key driver of severe food insecurity and famines. There is not a lack of current legal frameworks to limit the adverse impact of conflict, but the persistent failure to comply with them and the lack of accountability that aggravate situations of food insecurity. The situations requires urgent and immediate attention and long-term commitments. Preventing conflict, mitigating its negative impacts on food security and establishing sustainable, resilient and inclusive food systems requires a comprehensive, coordinated, innovative, multi-disciplinary response. Affected communities and their needs must be at the centre of any response. This report suggests three key pathways: prevention of food insecurity resulting from or contributing to conflict; compliance with and accountability within legal frameworks; and working towards a comprehensive and coordinated operational response. The international community should build on existing mechanisms, initiatives and previous successes, while looking for innovative ways to respond to the immediate and long-term needs of communities. One of the recommendations for the Security Council is to consider the use of targeted sanctions in cases of willful impediment of relief supplies, while taking into consideration guarantees of due process under international law. A recommendation for UN Member States is to facilitate rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access and avoid the politicisation of humanitarian assistance by ensuring that humanitarian needs and respect for humanitarian principles are the basis of humanitarian action. The UN system and relevant organisations should support further evidence-based analysis on how food insecurity can lead to conflict and intervene in support of food security and livelihoods by making investment in rural development and agriculture.