Amidst rising alarm about food prices worldwide, the General Assembly today adopted a resolution calling on the international community to urgently support countries affected by the food security crisis through coordinated action.
The text, titled “State of global food insecurity” (document A/76/L.55), was adopted without a vote. It welcomed the initiative by the Secretary-General to establish a Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance, and took note of the recommendations contained in its first report. Further, it called upon Member States and other relevant stakeholders to keep food and agriculture supply chains functioning, and stressed the need to keep trade channels and markets open for the movement of food, fuel, fertilizer and other agricultural inputs and outputs.
Other terms of that text called upon the international community, including the Group of Seven and the Group of 20, to place global food security at the top of their agendas and to support multilateral efforts in finding affordable solutions to the crisis. The text also urged Member States and other relevant stakeholders to refrain from hoarding food and commodities.
Introducing that text, the representative of Lebanon, holding up a bouquet of wheat, highlighted the crucial importance of that grain to billions of people around the world. Long lines for bread can lead to extended periods of instability, she cautioned, adding that people everywhere are facing “a perfect storm” of crises, due to the scarcity of food, fertilizer and fuel. Noting many multilateral efforts to tackle this problem, including the Secretary-General’s Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance, she cautioned that rising food prices are a catalyst to upheaval.
Speaking in explanation of position after the adoption, the representative of Ukraine noted that his country was a reliable contributor of global food supplies. However, the Russian Federation’s aggression has aggravated a worldwide food crisis that was already impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, pointing to the block of his country’s seaports, as well as the seizure of its grain, by that country.
The representative of the Russian Federation dissociated from operative paragraph 3 of the resolution which takes note of the first report of the Secretary-General’s Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance. That report has ignored the serious role of illegal sanctions that have destabilized the energy market, undermined the supply chains and broken the transport routes, he said. Along similar lines, the representative of Belarus noted that the ban on its potassium fertilizer has impacted the price of fertilizer and thus food security.
However, the representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, stressed that the sanctions are carefully targeted to avoid the agricultural sector. Acknowledging the hunger impact of climate change and the pandemic, he stressed that it is the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine — one of the major breadbaskets of the world — that has disrupted food security. Echoing that, the United Kingdom’s delegate added that the Russian Federation can end the global food crisis by ending its aggression against Ukraine.
The representative of the United States, while noting that the text contains certain vague and ill-defined terms, added that it does not address Russian Federation’s unjustified aggression and destruction of Ukraine’s agricultural sector that has directly contributed to hunger and malnutrition around the world.
Several delegates, including those of Argentina, Switzerland, Brazil, Tunisia and Egypt reaffirmed their commitment to tackling the global food crisis through multilateral cooperation. Thailand’s delegate stressed the importance of diversifying the world’s food output, while El Salvador’s delegate expressed regret that the draft was not negotiated in a transparent way.
Also adopted today was a resolution titled “Intergovernmental conference on an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction” (document A/76/L.46), by the terms of which the Assembly decided to convene a fifth session of that conference in August. Introducing that text, the representative of Singapore noted that, at the end of the fourth session of the conference in March, it was decided that an additional conference was necessary as soon as possible.
Further, the Assembly adopted a resolution on “World Seagrass Day” (document A/76/L.56), by the terms of which it decided to proclaim 1 March as World Seagrass Day, to be observed annually. The representative of Sri Lanka, introducing that text, noted that seagrass provides a range of critical environmental benefits. Highlighting its carbon sequestration potential, he said that seagrass also provides food for a number of marine creatures. Declaring 1 March as World Seagrass Day will help raise awareness about the importance of conserving seagrass, he said.
Finally, the Assembly appointed Evgeny V. Kalugin (Russian Federation) as a member of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) for a term of office beginning on 21 August 2022 and ending on 31 December 2023.
The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 31 May for a high-level thematic debate on debt sustainability for a better recovery from the pandemic.