New Action Against Hunger analysis shows how conflict drives food insecurity.
Conflict and violence threatens food security for 85% of 258 million people in 58 countries, according to a new Action Against Hunger report, released today. In “No Matter Who’s Fighting, Hunger Always Wins,” the global nonprofit organization analyzes evidence from a wide range of conflicts around the world to identify the specific and complex connections between conflict and hunger.
Five years ago today, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2417, which recognizes the deadly link between conflict and hunger and declares that using starvation as a weapon may constitute a war crime. Despite this landmark action, there have been no prosecutions for starvation crimes and conflict-driven hunger has been on the rise.
“Conflict is the top driver of hunger around the world, yet both conflict and hunger are preventable,” said Michelle Brown, Associate Director of Advocacy for Action Against Hunger. “The alarming resurgence of global hunger goes hand-in-hand with the growing number and intensity of armed conflicts and the flagrant disregard of international humanitarian law by warring parties.”
International humanitarian law prohibits blockades, forced displacement, mine contamination, and attacks on land, food, water, and humanitarian workers. Yet, Action Against Hunger and other organizations report that those actions take place with impunity and leave people with few options for feeding themselves and their families.
In 2022, 376,000 people experienced famine conditions in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen – all countries facing protracted conflict or insecurity.
Action Against Hunger’s report includes firsthand perspectives on the impacts of conflict on food security in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Syria. One Syrian participant said, “We suffer from all armed people in this country, all of them don’t respect the civilians. We planted our lands this year with wheat and barley; the harvesting season is very soon. The rainfall was little this winter, and we can’t water the lands from our wells since all the equipment was stolen.”
The report details the ways acts of violence drive hunger and offers recommendations for how parties to conflict and UN member states can reduce conflict-driven hunger and invest in peacebuilding to prevent food insecurity.
“The world has made commitments and built frameworks to protect civilians and to stop hunger from being used as a weapon of war. As millions face food insecurity in conflicts, now is the time to translate those promises into meaningful action,” said Brown. “We urge UN member states to use their influence and their investments to hold warring parties accountable for violations of international law, to guarantee safe delivery of lifesaving assistance to communities in need, and to build peace and food security globally.”
Tomorrow, on May 25, Action Against Hunger and its partners are convening a high-level side event at UN Headquarters in New York to take stock of the impact and implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2417. Representatives from local civil society organizations, communities, and humanitarian agencies will share how conflict-driven hunger impacts civilians in the contexts where they live and work. The event will be livestreamed on UN TV.