WFP lauds Security Council resolution on hunger

Rome, May 25 (IANS/AKI) UN World Food Programme (WFP) chief David Beasley has hailed the UN Security Council for its leadership in adopting a resolution that for the first time paves the way to address conflict-induced hunger around the world.

"Today's Security Council vote is a huge step forward toward breaking the cycle of conflict and hunger that stands in the way of prosperity and peace for hundreds of millions of people," said Beasley on Thursday.

He urged leaders worldwide to work with the UN to bring peace and sustainable development to conflict zones in order end the scourge of hunger.

Sixty percent of the 815 million chronically hungry in the world - or 489 million people -- live in a conflict zone and suffer man-made, preventable hunger, the agency said. \

Children pay an especially horrible price. An estimated 122 million of the 155 million stunted children in the world live in countries hit by conflict, WFP said.

Over the past two years, the number of people with acute food insecurity jumped by 55 percent, from 80 million to 124 million, according to the latest Global Food Crises Report, released in March.

Conflict and insecurity were the primary drivers of hunger for 74 million of those with acute food insecurity, which is when hunger is so severe it poses an immediate threat to lives or livelihoods.

"In every conflict zone I have visited, the people I talk to ask for peace as often as they ask for help getting food," Beasley said.

"For decades, we've made progress against hunger, but now we're going backwards, and it's nearly all because people won't stop shooting at each other."

The resolution passed by the UN's top decision-making body underlines "deep concern that ongoing armed conflicts and violence have devastating humanitarian consequences, often hindering an effective humanitarian response, and are therefore a major cause of the current risk of famine".

The resolution strongly condemns starving civilians as a method of warfare, which is prohibited by international humanitarian law and which "may constitute a war crime."

Championed by a core group consisting of Cote d'Ivoire, Kuwait, the Netherlands and Sweden, the resolution was backed unanimously by the Security Council's 15 members, WFP noted.

--IANS/AKI

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