UN warns of acute food insecurity worldwide as 113 million experienced hunger in 2018
Maris Federez • April 4, 2019 • 3158
A new joint United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) report released on Tuesday (April 2) showed that approximately 113 million people in 53 countries experienced high levels of food insecurity in 2018.
This report by the two international bodies warns that these crises are primarily driven by conflict and climate-related disasters.
According to the UN, “the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and EU “Global Report on Food Crises 2019” shows that the number going chronically-hungry has remained well over 100 million over the past three years, with the number of countries affected, rising.”
It further said that only eight countries; namely, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen constitute nearly two-thirds of those facing acute hunger.
And although there were 11 million fewer people believed to be in food crisis in 2018 compared to that in 2017, acute hunger either remained the same or increased in 17 countries, as indicated in the report.
The report added that “an additional 143 million people in another 42 countries are just one step away from acute hunger.”
The UN-EU study also found out that climate and natural disasters have pushed another 29 million people into acute food insecurity in 2018.
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, speaking at a two-day conference to discuss the findings in Brussels, stressed that “we must act at scale across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus to build the resilience of affected and vulnerable populations. To save lives, we also have to save livelihoods.”
WFP Executive Director David Beasley who also spoke in the Brussels forum also pointed out that “while critical to saving lives and alleviating human suffering, humanitarian assistance does not address the root causes of food crises.”
He further highlighted the importance of “attacking the root causes of hunger: conflict, instability, the impact of climate shocks”.
“Programmes that make a community resilient and more stable will also reduce the number of hungry people. And one thing we need world leaders to do as well: step up to the plate and help solve these conflicts, right now”, Beasley added.
The report also said that from 2014 to 2020, “the EU will have provided nearly €9 billion for initiatives on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture in over 60 countries.”
EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, said, “over the last three years, the EU allocated the biggest humanitarian food and nutrition assistance budget ever, with nearly €2 billion overall. Food crises are becoming more acute and complex and we need innovative ways to tackle and prevent them from happening.” – Maris Federez
A total of 18 countries in Europe, the Caribbean, and South America convened a video conference and issued a joint statement on July 10, stating their strong support for the United Nations, especially the World Health Organization (WHO), and criticizing U.S. withdrawal from WHO.
The meeting was initiated by the European Union, France, and Spain. The EU countries participating in the meeting include Germany, Croatia, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Sweden, while the Latin American countries attending the conference are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Dominica.
The 18 countries believed that WHO plays a key role in the global collaborative fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Cooperation and solidarity are at the core of responding to the pandemic.
The countries jointly support WHO in carrying out coordinated actions, conducting a fair, independent and comprehensive assessment and summarizing the experience of the international community in responding to the pandemic. (Reuters)
The January U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine other people represented a violation of international law, a U.N. human rights investigator said on Thursday (July 9).
The United States has failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike on Soleimani’s convoy as it left Baghdad airport, said Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
The attack violated the U.N. Charter, Callamard wrote in a report calling for accountability for targeted killings by armed drones and for greater regulation of the weapons.
Callamard presented her findings to the Human Rights Council, giving member states a chance to debate what action to pursue. The United States is not a member of the forum, having quit two years ago.
Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran’s campaign to drive U.S. forces out of Iraq, and built up Iran’s network of proxy armies across the Middle East. Washington had accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region.
The Jan. 3 drone strike was the first known incident in which a nation invoked self-defence as a justification for an attack against a state actor in the territory of a third country, Callamard added.
Iran retaliated with a rocket attack on an Iraqi air base where U.S. forces were stationed. Hours later, Iranian forces on high alert mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner taking off from Tehran.
Iran has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others over Soleimani’s killing and has asked Interpol for help, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on June 29, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. (Reuters)
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson has criticized a United Nations official for urging President Rodrigo Duterte not to sign the controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill.
In a statement, Lacson expressed doubt that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet actually read the provisions of the measure which seeks to strengthen the country’s campaign against terrorism.
Bachelet, in a speech during the 44th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Tuesday, asked Duterte not to sign the bill, warning that its passage heightens concerns on the blurring of important distinctions between criticism, criminality and terrorism. She also warned of the measure’s potential “chilling effect” on humanitarian and human rights work.
Lacson questioned Bachelet’s statement since the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 was crafted based on the guidelines and standards set by the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) Resolution 1373.
“It was the UN that prodded the Philippines to strengthen its laws against terrorism. So, is this the United Nations going up against the United Nations?” the senator asked.
“The problem with the critics of the Anti-Terrorism Bill like the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights and the others is that they criticize without even reading the bill itself,” he added.
Lacson said that Bachelet and others opposing the measure are only “jumping into the wagon of criticisms” and have let themselves be influenced by the “avalanche of misinformation” about the bill.
“There are people, learned as they are, merely jumped into the wagon of criticisms without thoroughly reading and understanding the provisions under the proposed measure,” he said.
“All the misinterpretations and misconceptions triggered by an avalanche of misinformation and disinformation that dominated the mainstream and social media platforms have unduly influenced their thinking,” he added.
Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism Bill despite oppositions from various groups.
Some people have been campaigning for the junking of the bill, which they claim can be used to silence the critics of the Duterte government.
Lacson, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, has repeatedly stressed that the bill seeks to stop terrorism and protect people from terrorists.
He also underscored that there is a difference between the “designation” of terrorist individuals, groups, organizations/associations, and “proscription” of terrorist organizations.
“Designation as defined under the bill is a purely administrative process intended to trigger the issuance of a “freeze order” by the Anti-Money Laundering Council,” he said.
“Proscription, on the other hand, needs court intervention that requires due notice and hearing by the Court of Appeals,” he added.
Lacson also reiterated that the bill is a good measure, constitutional, and one that is swift and effective in fighting terrorism.
The senator previously said that he would join protests should authorities commit abuses in implementing measure.
Malacañang earlier said that the bill is now under final review before the president decides if he will veto or sign it into law.
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