ICYMI: Highlights of the United States Presidency of the United Nations Security Council for the Month of August 2023

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September 1, 2023

Last month, the United States, worked to address its key priorities during its Presidency of the United Nations Security Council: ending famine and combatting food insecurity, and defending human rights.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, as President of the UN Security Council, started the month off strong by participating in a number of interviews highlighting these priorities, as seen in a previous ICYMI.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken chaired the August 3 U.S. signature event on ending famine and conflict-induced food insecurity. “Strengthening food security is essential to realizing the vision of the United Nations Charter. To save generations from the scourge of war and reaffirm the dignity and worth of every single human being,” said Secretary Blinken during the event.

In an August 8 interview with Carolyn Beeler of PRX’s “The World”, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield underscored new U.S. funding to help combat food insecurity, noting that “we provided about $14 billion in additional funding for food security worldwide. Secretary Blinken was in New York last week; he announced an additional $350 million in aid to 11 African countries and Haiti.”

During the Presidency of the Council, 91 UN Member States joined a U.S.-led joint communique condemning food as a weapon of war. “There is no reason for 700 million people to go to bed hungry every single night. There is no need for famine like conditions in the Horn of Africa. We have the resources, we have the tools to end this crisis, and we have to commit to doing it,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield during an interview with Caitriona Perry of BBC World News.

For the first time since 2017, the UN Security Council held its first open meeting on the human rights situation in the DPRK – an initiative led by the United States, Albania, and Japan, and agreed to by Council consensus. This milestone meeting included a briefing by Mr. Il-Hyeok Kim, who had defected from the DPRK at the age of 17. During a meeting with Mr. Kim, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield praised his bravery in speaking out against the DPRK regime: “I am inspired by you. I am inspired by your bravery. By your speaking out, you have helped advance the dignity and the rights of people in the DPRK. And I thank you profusely for your presence today.”

Following the briefing, 52 UN Member States – 20 more than last year – and the Delegation of the European Union cosponsored a joint statement on the human rights situation in the DPRK. The joint statement, delivered by Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield stated that the DPRK’s human rights violations and abuses are “inextricably linked with the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile advancements in violation of Security Council resolutions…and there continues to be a lack of accountability.”

During an interview on “Diplomatic Avenue” with Talal Al-Haj, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield addressed the situation in Sudan and the purpose of open briefings of the Council, saying that, “[The Sudanese] know that we have not forgotten them when we have these open briefings. Because without the open briefings, nobody knows what’s going on. And so, the briefings are one step – just one – to show the world that we are not ignoring the situation.”

The Ambassador wrapped up the month with a final press conference, highlighting these and other U.S. successes during its Presidency. The Ambassador said, “It really has been an honor and a privilege for me to serve as President of the Council. And I wish my colleague, Albania, all the best as they assume the Presidency during the most important month of the year for the UN. And that’s during High-Level Week.”

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