3 August 2023, Antony Blinken – United States Secretary of State, presided the United States presidency of the Security Council during August over an open debate to discuss: “Famine and conflict-induced global food insecurity”. He emphasized that the world has seen an almost perfect storm emerge in recent years, the combination of climate change, COVID, and particularly conflict that is driving food insecurity. It is a fact that now about 260 million people around the world are acutely food insecure. This food insecurity drives conflict and forced migration. It stunts growth, both physical growth and economic growth. It holds countries back and it holds people back.
He also addressed a thank you note to the good work of the United Nations Secretary-General and Türkiye on the reached agreement by the Black Sea Grain Initiative. While this agreement was put in force, more than 30 million tons of grain were able to get out of Ukraine and ship to markets around the world and well over half of that to developing countries and two-thirds of the wheat to developing countries. It was equivalent to 18 billion loaves of bread. Blinken added that two weeks ago, Russia tore up that agreement. The result has been rising prices for countries around the world as well as a diminution in access to food products, particularly for developing countries. It’s seen Russia’s actions since then, not only in tearing up the deal but in intentionally targeting food silos in Ukraine, literally destroying food, as well as the means to produce it, holding ports and sea lanes at risk to prevent countries from shifting these products out of Ukraine and to the people who needed. Therefore, the Secretary of State calls to leverage the political purposes to end conflict after conflict particularly the fact that it’s seen increasingly for food being used as a weapon of war.
The US representative has listed all the help his country and others are providing but noted that ‘it’s not enough’. He said according to the World Food Program, $25 billion is needed to address this current food insecurity to cover over 100 million people around the world. He emphasized that to date, only 4.5 billion of the amounts has been pledged by various countries. We must do better. We must do more. We must do it now.