posted on Mon 28 Mar 2016 2:40 PM
Arria-Formula Meeting on Food Security and Peace

Tomorrow morning (29 March), Ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins (Angola) and Ambassador Román Oyarzun (Spain) will co-chair an Arria-formula meeting on food security, nutrition, and peace. Members are expected to discuss the interlinkages between food security and peace in the context of sustainable development.The scheduled briefers are: Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization; Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, a former World Bank economist and now a professor at The New School; and Sarah F. Cliffe, director of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation.

According to a concept note circulated by Angola and Spain ahead of the meeting, the focus of the Arria-formula meeting includes:

  • The short, medium and long-term consequences of conflict on food security.
  • How food security can contribute to the prevention of conflicts, while improving peace, stability and security.
  • The importance of reflecting “food security” in coherent systemic approaches to support international peace and security.

After these presentations, Council members are expected to make statements or ask questions of the panelists. Non-Council members are also expected to speak at the meeting, time permitting.

The concept note stresses how food insecurity can be a contributing factor to conflicts and conversely, how food-security related interventions can contribute to conflict prevention, as well as the sustainability of peace, through the creation of jobs and reintegration opportunities or the enhancement of livelihoods in the agricultural sector.

Keeping in mind the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit, members may be interested in how limiting access to food has been increasingly used in conflict situations as a deliberate tactic of war, in violation of international humanitarian law. The note also mentions how conflicts have a negative impact on food security, affecting the ability to produce, trade and access food. Another area covered in the concept note that may be of interest to Council members is how famine and starvation can create conditions for the spread of violent extremism, and how food security could affect the recruitment of terrorists.

Council members are encouraged to reflect on what kind of action can be taken by the Council and others in the UN system to combat food insecurity and mitigate the potential risks of conflict. In 2005, the Council discussed the role of food security in its debate on Africa’s food crisis as a threat to peace and security (S/PV.5220). Council members were briefed by the then-Executive Director of the World Food Programme, James Morris. In a level of interactivity unusual today, after taking questions from Council members, he responded to questions from the Council during the debate. Food security has also featured in the different thematic discussions in the Council on climate change and in country-specific discussions on Somalia, Sudan and Syria, among others. Despite the 2005 debate and other country-specific discussions on food security, it seems that some
Council members may have been reluctant to have a discussion on this as a thematic issue in the Council, and the Arria-formula format was considered as the most appropriate given its informal nature.

Background on Arria-formula meetings can be found here.