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War and famine, the key in most conflicts

MADRID, May 27.

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War and famine, the key in most conflicts

MADRID, May 27. (by Olivier Longué, general director of Action Against Hunger) -

There are currently at least 110 active conflicts in the world. Current news in the media regularly takes us to different parts of the planet to make them visible, usually through the victims as a direct consequence of violence, but very rarely are the connections and specific factors behind many of the conflicts and that have to do, fundamentally, with hunger.

If we look at the map that accompanies this article, we can see that more than 85% of the 258 million people who suffer from acute hunger live in countries affected by wars and conflicts. In the latest report, published by Action Against Hunger, titled No matter who is fighting, hunger always wins, he analyzes the link between conflict and hunger and shows how the alarming increase in food insecurity in the world goes hand in hand. the increase in the number and intensity of armed conflicts and the evident breach of international humanitarian law by the belligerent parties, of which the civilian population is the main victim.

The report places conflicts as the main cause of the current serious food and nutrition crisis, even more than economic crises or the climate crisis. If we delve a little deeper into the connections and factors, we could summarize them in six:

1) the obstacle to the access of crops and pasture. We must not forget that 80% of the world's extremely poor people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and livestock for their survival.

2) looting or theft of productive assets and crops. In rural areas, agricultural production is attacked as a political and economic tactic.

3) contamination by mines. The number of victims caused by these types of weapons has increased in the last seven years. Its use displaces and confines populations that lose their ability to develop their livelihoods, particularly affecting remote rural, agricultural and pastoral areas.

4) the destruction of basic services and infrastructures. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas destroys critical infrastructure such as food and water supplies, markets, hospitals and schools.

5) forced displacements. In 2022, there were 103 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, 15% more than in 2021. For example, fighting in Sudan today has forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, threatening to push them into greater food insecurity.

6) Obstructing access to humanitarian assistance and the basic means of survival. In countries in conflict, blockades of ports and roads disrupt trade and humanitarian aid, causing hunger and malnutrition. In addition, humanitarian workers are attacked and there are disinformation campaigns that undermine the perception of neutrality of their actions.

The recent report published by Action Against Hunger includes first-hand perspectives on the repercussions of conflicts on food security in countries such as the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sahel countries such as Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, and others such as Colombia and Syria, with testimonies collected on the ground.

Now that this week marks the fifth anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 2417, the time has come to take steps to ensure its implementation and guarantee the protection of civilians in conflicts, among other things, ensuring that hunger and food insecurity are not used as a weapon in armed conflict at the expense of vulnerable people.