Remarks by Mohamed Irfaan Ali, Council President and President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, at the Security Council meeting on climate change and food insecurity

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February 13, 2024

Council President and President of Guyana, speaking in his national capacity, stressed the significant impact of conflict, food security and climate change on global security.

Highlighting the dire consequences of conflict-driven hunger, he pointed to the fact that nearly 149 million Africans are currently facing acute food insecurity, with 122 million of them residing in conflict-affected areas.  Drawing attention to the significant economic toll of conflicts, he cited the $5 billion needed to eradicate hunger caused by war in Africa and the $4 billion worth of agricultural losses in Ukraine due to conflict-induced land degradation.

More than 6 million hectares of land in Colombia have been abandoned or seized as a result of conflict between 1980 and 2010.  Disappointed over the lack of action by the international community, he said: “We do not see the interplay and we do not place priority on these issues”.

Putting a spotlight on the overlooked consequences of war, he underscored the significant economic, social and environmental damages inflicted, including land degradation, deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.

“The war in Iraq generated 141 million of emission in four years, which is equivalent of 20 million cars in one year,” he observed, highlighting an estimated 150 million tons of carbon dioxide expected from the conflict in Ukraine after 18 months of war.  With the environmental and food impacts during the rebuilding phase not being calculated, he asked whether “we are we going to be bold to calculate these damages and assign a value to the damage”.

Noting that “food and climate are sometimes missing from the overall analysis of the impact of war and conflict”, he urged the Security Council to adopt “a very targeted approach” to address the nexus of conflict, food security and climate change, while emphasizing the critical role of political will and global cooperation.

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