Switzerland would like to thank the United States for organising this open debate and the speakers for their perspectives.
In 2021, armed conflicts remain the main factor of acute food insecurity. This is exacerbated by climate change, environmental degradation, economic shocks and COVID-19. In these conflicts, food insecurity and diseases related to malnutrition kill silently but surely: they often claim more lives than confrontations. But hunger is not a fatality: it can and must be prevented and alleviated. More efforts are urgently needed. This means prevention of armed conflict, respect for international humanitarian law, delivery of humanitarian assistance and a rapid and effective response to early warnings. Security Council action is vital for the 77 million people suffering from acute hunger in conflict zones.
Switzerland would like to highlight three areas of action that it considers to be priorities:
Firstly, it urges all parties to armed conflict to assume their primary responsibility to meet the needs of the civilian population. Failing this, they must allow and facilitate rapid, long-term and unimpeded humanitarian access to populations in need. Switzerland calls on the Council to authorize such access when the parties do not consent thereto while the civilian population is threatened by famine.
Secondly, sanctions and counter-terrorism measures should not increase food insecurity. Switzerland calls on the Council to include safeguard clauses for humanitarian action when deciding or extending such measures. Safeguard clauses must ensure effective and impartial humanitarian engagements. Switzerland encourages expert groups assisting sanctions committees to monitor and report on the impact of sanctions on humanitarian action and food security.
Thirdly, Switzerland emphasizes the fundamental importance of accountability in deterring potential perpetrators of violations and providing justice for the victims. Upon our initiative, the Rome Statute was amended to allow the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute the crime of starvation in internal armed conflicts. The Council can now refer to the Court situations of internal and international armed conflict where this crime appears to have been committed. Switzerland has initiated the process to ratify this amendment. It strongly encourages other States Parties to the Court to also ratify it and Member States to criminalize these acts in their national legislation.
Switzerland has supported Resolution 2417 from the outset and reaffirms today its unwavering support for it. It remains committed to the people affected through immediate and long-term humanitarian presence and by financing WFP operations, including in Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Nigeria. In addition to food security, Switzerland also supports access to vital services such as drinking water and shelter. Finally, it is committed to peace and reconciliation processes and to the respect and strengthening of the legal framework.