Open debate in Ensuring the security and dignity of civilians in conflict


Hon. Ambrose Dery
Ghana’s Minister for Interior
New York, New York
May 23, 2023


Mr. President,
Let me begin by thanking you for Switzerland’s choice of the topic for this open debate and to you personally for your able leadership of the Council’s proceedings today. I convey to you, the warm regards of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is unable to be personally here today due to pressing matters of State. I also thank the Secretary-General for his statement and note with appreciation the additional briefing received from the President of
the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Civil Society representative.


Mr. President,
The need to maintain food security and preserve the access of civilian populations to essential services is fundamental to the stability and well-being of any society. In normal times, this objective is difficult to achieve for many States but in violent conflict situations, it can almost become an impossible task for any State. It is in this regard, that we continue to emphasise the need to prioritize the global actions that preserve the peace, prevent conflicts, and trigger the early deployment of pacific means for the resolution of disputes before they lead to violence between States or intrastate. Indeed, as noted in your concept paper, the WFP and FAO in 2020 reported that “70 % of the world’s population experiencing hunger are in conflict- affected areas”.

This grim reality is affirmed by the 2023 Global Report on Food Crisis which outlines the scale and dimension of the problem of conflicts breeding hunger, particularly in African countries affected by conflicts. For many of such persons, the right to food, which is acknowledged under the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and expressed in the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, is an illusion, as their capacity to have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food is severely impaired.


Mr. President,
As we reflect over five (5) years of the implementation of resolution 2417 , and the important contribution it has made, in establishing the interlinkages between conflict and hunger and the need for global respect for norms relating to a populations’ right to food, Ghana believes that the most important task before us is breaking those destructive links, even in the midst of ongoing conflict, and ensuring that food systems promote peace, and its
associated positive effects, on the supply of safe and nutritious food to civilians. In this regard, we continue to urge the international community to implement a series of emergency measures and simultaneously pursue long-term development investments to break the vicious circle of hunger and conflict. More specifically, we would like to share some priority areas of global action. In respect of the global emergency measures:

I. We must act with urgency, and at scale, to respond to the acute food insecurity and nutrition needs of the millions of vulnerable people in conflict situations around the world, especially in Africa, which is the hardest hit. The vulnerable populations in places such as Burkina Faso, the CAR, the DRC, Mali, the Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, and Haiti can no longer wait until there is a perfect outcome among all the parties to their conflicts. Amid the prevailing challenges, we must press on to remove barriers obstructing food systems, particularly human-made obstacles, and deliver assistance where it is most needed.

II. We encourage the strong deployment of diplomatic, political, legal, and humanitarian tools to reverse the rapid and dramatic deterioration in food security observed in conflict affected settings and urge unified calls by the international community in demanding that parties to conflict comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL). Such demands, where necessary, must also specifically request the parties to refrain from targeting food systems and other livelihood support infrastructure.

III. We urge the strengthening of prepositioned assets including the global humanitarian hubs such as the International Humanitarian City in Dubai and regional humanitarian hubs like the one in Accra to be able to interconnect food stocks quickly and effectively with humanitarian needs. The international humanitarian community must also deepen their national and regional coordination mechanisms for programming and responding to humanitarian crises and work to align their interventions with national and regional response plans. In addition, major donors must cooperate to shift funds out of separate silos to enable integrative work, and in a manner that does not prioritize food distribution to vulnerable communities over the sustainable approach of helping them to reconstruct their food systems.


Mr. President,
As we know, short-term actions to respond to crises are not enough. Long-term development investment is key to breaking the vicious circle of hunger and conflict. In this regard, and with a focus on the African continent, which is acutely aligned with food insecurity and conflicts concerns, I would make three brief points.


First, our actions must focus on building resilience in economies and food systems. This calls for support for initiatives such as; (i) the African Common Position for Sustainable Food Systems; (ii) the further implementation of
the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme and its results framework; (iii) regional food security facilities such as ECOWAS’ Food Security Reserve; and (iv) the effective and full implementation of the $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Plan facility of the African Development Bank to boost food security, nutrition and resilience on the continent.


Secondly, support for the accelerated and full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is critical in averting the food supply chain disruptions on the African continent especially for regions that may be
experiencing drought conditions and the impact of climate change-induced situations that could aggravate conflict


Thirdly, we advocate the need to integrate peace-building objectives into the creation of resilient food systems, with a
backward interlock of food security objectives into peace building programmes and activities.


In conclusion, I would like us to recommit to act with urgency, at scale, and in concert, to respond to the urgent food
security and nutrition needs of the millions of vulnerable people around the world, whose situation has been exacerbated by conflicts. Let us also recommit to provide immediate humanitarian assistance, build resilience of the most vulnerable and strengthen sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food systems in line with the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.


I thank you for your attention