Mr. President, Mr. Secretary of State,
Allow me first to congratulate the United Kingdom on its Presidency of the Council in July, and I wish you, Mr. President, and your team every success in this month's work. You can count on Switzerland's support. I would also like to thank you for organizing this timely debate, and the speakers for their contributions. We also welcome the presence of high-level representatives.
War breeds hunger and hunger breeds war. The global food crisis is without precedent and is destabilizing countries and regions, as was also demonstrated by the debate on the pro-protection of civilians last May under the Swiss presidency. The phenomenon continues to worsen in Somalia, Sudan (especially Darfur), South Sudan, the Sahel, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere in the world. We therefore regret Russia's decision to cease the implementation of the Black Sea Initiative, and condemn the recent attacks on Ukrainian ports, which risk further deteriorating the global situation.
In adopting resolution 2417, the Council recognized the need to put an end to the vicious circle of armed conflict and food insecurity. It pledged to pay full attention to this issue in order to better prevent famine. The Council's role in crisis prevention is also at the heart of the New Agenda for Peace. Switzerland calls for the full implementation of the prevention mechanisms provided for in Resolution 2417, and welcomes the recent meeting on food security in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso and Haiti.
In order to better prevent food crises, including famine, my country calls for the following three areas to be strengthened:
First, respect for international humanitarian law and human rights by all parties is imperative to minimize the impact of armed conflict on the food situation. Access by civilians to essential goods and services must be preserved. Objects essential to civilian survival, such as foodstuffs, water installations and other infrastructure needed for food production and supply, must not be attacked and must be protected, as required by international humanitarian law. We call on the parties concerned to guarantee the rapid, safe and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need. We deplore the fact that humanitarian actors such as the ICRC are not always able to carry out their operations, as is currently the case across the Lachin corridor in the South Caucasus. We also recall the importance of implementing Council Resolution 2664, which facilitates humanitarian operations in some of the most difficult contexts.
Second, in many fragile contexts, it is often women and girls who eat last and eat least. This is even truer in situations of conflict, where women and girls also seek solutions. As pointed out by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, we must not underestimate the fact that food insecurity increases the risk of exposure to sexual violence. This is why we need to ensure that a gender perspective is integrated into measures to improve food security.
Third, impunity, particularly for those who deliberately starve civilians as a method of warfare, must be resolutely combated. All too often, the civilian population is deliberately deprived of its means of subsistence, causing immense suffering and further destabilizing conflict zones. In 2019, the Statute of the International Criminal Court was amended on Switzerland's initiative so that this crime can also be prosecuted in situations of internal conflict. We call on all States Parties to ratify this amendment.
“You can’t build peace on empty stomachs", as the American agronomist and Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug reminds us. This makes it all the more important to tackle the root causes of food insecurity. Armed conflict and violence are the main drivers, and the growing pressure exerted by economic crises and climate change add to the difficulties. Political solutions to conflict must be part of our global approach to eliminating hunger, ensuring access to sufficient and adequate food for all, and promoting resilient, inclusive and sustainable food systems.
I thank you.