Time to end conflict-induced starvation


Sir, – Last Thursday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution that for the first time recognises the link between conflict and hunger, and strongly condemns the use of starvation as a method of warfare.

The resolution calls on all parties to conflict to comply with international humanitarian law, banning attacks on civilians, food production and transport infrastructure, including farms, markets, and water systems.

Make no mistake, this resolution is historic.

Of the 13 main food crises in the world today, 10 are being driven by conflict. After decades of worldwide progress in reducing hunger, the number of people who are now food insecure is on the rise again.

Coming a year after conflict-driven famine was declared in South Sudan and threatened millions more in Yemen, Nigeria and east Africa, the resolution could not be more timely.

However, we need to ensure it is not consigned to the overloaded shelf of other well-meaning but ineffective UN resolutions.

We have the international legal frameworks for the protection of civilians in conflict, but we need political leadership to drive it home.

It is precisely this leadership that Ireland can offer, particularly as we campaign for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2021.

It is 50 years since the first televised famine in Biafra struck a deep chord with the Irish public and gave rise to the largest humanitarian operation ever mounted out of Ireland.

As we seek to live up to a promise of a world without hunger by 2030, we must add political weight, diplomatic muscle and public pressure to this historic resolution – to end conflict-induced starvation once and for all and to hold to account those who are creating it. – Yours, etc,


Chief Executive,

Concern Worldwide,

Lower Camden Street,

Dublin 2.