UN boss urges concerted effort worldwide to end conflict

Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday urged a concerted effort worldwide to end conflict.

“I urge all states to make ending conflict, not simply mitigating its impact, a key foreign policy priority,” the UN chief told the Security Council open debate via videoconference on conflict and food security.

“I call on council members to use your privileged position to do everything in your power to end violence, negotiate peace, and alleviate the hunger and suffering that afflict so many millions of people around the world,” said Guterres.

“There is no place for famine and starvation in the 21st century.” On the widespread famine, the UN chief said, “we face multiple conflict-driven famines around the world.”

“Climate shocks and the COVID-19 pandemic are adding fuel to the flames,” he said. “Without immediate action, millions of people will reach the brink of extreme hunger and death.”

Talking about the most serious concern in relation to food security, Guterres said that it “must be the more than 34 million people who already face emergency levels of acute food insecurity.”

The secretary-general also stressed that that humanitarian access must be unimpeded, and starvation of civilians as a method of war must be prohibited. “Sadly, we have many recent examples of the use of starvation as a war tactic,” he said.

He urged the members of the Security Council “to take maximum action to seek accountability for these atrocious acts, and to remind parties (related) to conflict of their obligations under international humanitarian law.” The UN chief called on the global community to transform the food systems to make them more inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

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