Ministry Statements & Speeches:
Honourable Secretary, Madam President,
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of New Zealand.
New Zealand welcomes the decision by the United States to choose conflict-driven food insecurity as the theme for today’s open debate. We also thank Ireland for its work as the Council’s focal point on conflict and hunger.
New Zealand is committed to working with partners to advance international efforts to address food insecurity.
Honourable Secretary, Madam President,
Hunger has no place in the twenty-first century.
When the Council adopted resolution 2417 four years ago, it was amid a resurgence in global food insecurity driven primarily by conflict. Resolution 2417 reminds us that conflict contributes to hunger both directly through the effects of war, and indirectly through the disruption of markets.
Sadly, the situation we face today is even more dire. Conflict, the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and surging food and fuel costs have created a perfect storm.
This year is forecast to be the most food-insecure year on record globally. [We have heard from briefers today on the extreme scope of the insecurity.] The Food and Agriculture Organisation has reported that 193 million people in 53 countries or territories will experience acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels this year. This is a sharp increase of nearly 40 million people from 2020.
There is no question that conflict is a key driver of food insecurity.
New Zealand has watched with concern as the prices of key food commodities and fertilisers have increased rapidly. Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine is the primary driver behind these price spikes. Sanctions are not the cause of price spikes or food shortages – Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is.
The impact of Russia’s actions are being felt beyond Europe. They are hurting countries that already face dangerous levels of food insecurity. New Zealand is concerned at the potential for domestic unrest in countries affected by price increases and shortages of essential items.
The most efficient way to mitigate the worsening global food crisis is for Russia to silence its guns, withdraw its troops and end this pointless war.
New Zealand is collaborating with our international partners to respond to the growing food security crisis. This includes providing flexible and multi-year funding to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. We are also providing support to specific humanitarian crises to alleviate food insecurity.
Now is not the time to lose focus on long-running conflicts or humanitarian crises. Now is not the time for Member States to reduce or divert their development or humanitarian funding.
New Zealand strongly supports the call for countries to resist actions that hinder trade in essential foods and agricultural commodities. Export restrictions, hoarding, and similar trade-distorting measures only worsen global food security. Now, more than ever, we must keep global agricultural markets open and trade flowing stably.
Earlier this month New Zealand signed onto the United Kingdom-led Joint Statement on Open and Predictable Trade in Agricultural and Food Products delivered to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). We urge Member States to ensure that any emergency measures do not distort or restrict trade, are temporary, are designed with the utmost restraint and are consistent with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
Climate change also contributes to food insecurity.
This is a serious concern for New Zealand and our Indo-Pacific region. We are experiencing the effects of climate change on food security in our region – evident through an increase in extreme weather-related events, including drought, wildfire, extreme temperatures and flooding.
Extreme weather related events are predicted to increase in frequency and magnitude, threatening the safe production and distribution of food in our region and around the world.
Honourable Secretary, Madam President
We encourage this Council to take unified action on the worsening food security crisis and, in doing so, demonstrate collective leadership for the benefit of all in the international community.