Statement by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan H.E. Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at the UN Security Council Open Debate on "Conflict and Food Security" (19 May 2022)

Mr. President,

Pakistan welcomes this timely debate on global food insecurity.

Throughout history, hunger and war have been grim handmaidens. Although the world has made progress in promoting prosperity, the systemic causes of conflict and poverty have yet to be overcome. Inequality and insecurity are the hallmarks of our era.

In this "decade of action" to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we have instead confronted a series of disasters - the Covid pandemic, economic recession, spiralling prices, and the escalating impacts of climate change. These have reversed global growth, and for the first time in 30 years, increased poverty and hunger.

Meanwhile, with rising great power rivalries, political dialogue has frequently frozen, and often, this Security Council, has been paralyzed. Old conflicts have festered; and new conflicts have emerged - eroding the edifice of the world order established 76 years ago by the principles of the UN charter.

It is indeed the United Nations with has been founded for this very purpose - to resolve conflicts; to end wars; to make peace; to battle hunger, poverty and desperation.

Eighty percent of the 800 million undernourished, and the 40 million facing famine, inhabit countries driven by conflict or emerging from conflict.

Just yesterday we attended the ministerial meeting on global food security call to action. This initiative will go a long way in addressing the immediate crisis of food security, and the leadership behind such humanitarian efforts much be appreciated.

The call to action will help ramping up food production, help keep supply chains open and address blockages, mobilize financial and agricultural resources to where they are needed, help poor farmers expand local production and much more. Pakistan looks forward to play its part in line with this bold call to action.

We also look towards the United Nations to provide the leadership to address the root causes of food insecurity and conflict.

Mr. President,

Even those not directly involved in a conflict pay the price of war. The conflict in Ukraine means that many across the world will become food insecure and risk going hungry. Pakistan relied heavily on wheat and fertilize from the region. Our farmers are suffering and so are our people. The price of such conflicts is paid at the petrol pump and at the grocery store. For everyone who finds it difficult to make ends meet, things just got a lot more difficult.

We are in the middle of the most deadly pandemic of our time. Millions have died. People continue to die. The health and economic toll of this pandemic will outlast the pandemic itself.

Our continents are sinking; our planet is under threat. Is this not the time to rise above the conflicts of man and face the threats to humanity?

Mr. President,

They say history repeats itself; first as a tragedy and then as a farce. They say when the new wars end, the old wars begin/return.

At the end of the last "cold war" we saw the beginning of what would become the new war. Afghanistan was abandoned and out of the wreckage emerged the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and the war against extremism and terrorism. Today Afghanistan runs the risk of being abandoned yet again. We find ourselves at the precipice of what many fear can be a new era of great power conflict.

Pakistan has seen the cost of war up close. We are exhausted by conflict. We just witnessed how after decades of conflict, ultimately dialogue and diplomacy were the path to a conclusion. From our own experience, we humbly appeal to you, to deploy dialogue and diplomacy in pursuit of peace before and not after the next Great War.

Save another generation of humanity from the misery of conflict. Then watch as a new generation unlocks its true potential. We can rise to the challenges of our time. We can be the generation that ends hunger. We can be the generation that saves this planet. We can be the generation that breaks the cycle. If you let us.

Thank you.