UN chief urges the world to act together to end food insecurity crisis
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday the war in Ukraine is stoking a global food crisis, which could last for years.
Addressing a ministerial meeting on global hunger at UN Headquarters in New York, Guterres said the number of severely food insecure people had doubled in just two years – from 135 million pre-COVID pandemic to 276 million today, with more than half a million experiencing famine conditions – an increase of more than 500 percent since 2016.
“These frightening figures are inextricably linked with conflict, as both cause, and effect,” he said. “If we do not feed people, we feed conflict”.
Discussing hunger triggers, he said the climate emergency is another driver of global hunger and pointed out that 1.7 billion people have been affected by extreme weather and climate-related disasters over the past decade.
Moreover, the COVID-induced economic shock has compounded food insecurity by reducing incomes and disrupting supply chains, leading to an uneven economic recovery, he said.
“Now the war in Ukraine is amplifying and accelerating all these factors: climate change, COVID-19, and inequality,” Guterres said.
Guterres warned that the Ukraine war threatens to tip “tens of millions of people over the edge into food insecurity, followed by malnutrition, mass hunger and famine, in a crisis that could last for years.”
“In the past year, global food prices have risen by nearly one-third, fertilizer by more than half, and oil prices by almost two-thirds”.
According to the UN, between them, Ukraine and Russia produce almost a third of the world’s wheat and barley and half of its sunflower oil, while Russia and Belarus are the world’s number two and three producers of potash, a key ingredient of fertilizer.
“If high fertilizer prices continue, today’s crisis in grain and cooking oil could affect many other foods including rice, impacting billions of people in Asia and the Americas,” he said.
However, if we act together, there is enough food for everyone, he said adding that “ending hunger is within our reach”.
Guterres then outlined five urgent steps to solve the short-term crisis and prevent long-term damage, beginning with reducing market pressure by increasing food supplies – with no restrictions on exports and surpluses available to those most in need.
“But let’s be clear: there is no effective solution to the food crisis without reintegrating Ukraine’s food production, as well as the food and fertilizer produced by Russia and Belarus, into world markets, despite the war”.
Social protection systems must cover all in need with food, cash; and water, sanitation, nutrition, and livelihood support must be provided, he said adding that th, governments must bolster agricultural production and invest in resilient food systems that protect smallholder food producers.
And finally, humanitarian operations must be fully funded to prevent famine and reduce hunger.
“The food crisis has no respect for borders, and no country can overcome it alone,” he said.
“Our only chance of lifting millions of people out of hunger is to act together, urgently and with solidarity”.
IEA special forces kill key Daesh commander in eastern Afghanistan
The Islamic Emirate’s special forces in an operation on Wednesday killed a top Daesh commander along with his accomplice in eastern Nangarhar province, state-run Bakhtar news agency reported.
This Daesh commander’s name was reportedly “Turab”.
The operation was conducted on Wednesday evening in Wuch Tangi village of Shiwa district in eastern Nangarhar province, according to the provincial officials reported by Bakhtar news agency.
30 Afghan students off to Kazakhstan to continue their studies
The Ministry of Higher Education said on Thursday that 30 Afghan students will soon leave for Kazakhstan where they will continue their studies in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
At a meeting with the students held at the Ministry of Higher Education, Mufti Mohammad Tahir Ahmad, the deputy minister of student affairs, expressed his gratitude to Kazakhstan for awarding scholarships to Afghans and emphasized the need to strengthen relations with the countries in the scientific and academic sectors.
Ahmad said the students were ambassadors of their country and stated that: “Besides preserving your religious and national values, you must also respect the laws and culture of the host country. Pay more attention to your learning and knowledge.”
He added that: “The eyes of hope of the people and the system are fixed on you, so that after acquiring science and knowledge, you will play your part in the development of your country.”
Dr. Nazar Mohammad Irfan, the head of foreign relations and scholarship regulation of the Ministry of Higher Education, also addressed the students and said Kazakhstan was among the countries that stood by the people of Afghanistan in difficult times and continued their cooperation in various sectors, especially higher education.
He also asked the students to make the most of this opportunity and build their country with their own hands.
Mohammad Ashraf Ghairat, the academic vice president of Kabul University, spoke about the value of science and knowledge and the objectives of the Ministry of Higher Education in the area of education and training of young staff from the perspective of the holy religion of Islam and religious beliefs, and asked the students to make the basis and focus of all their activities on “Islamic belief”.
According to the ministry, 256 people took part in a scholarship selection exam, and 30 students were chosen. They will pursue bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the fields of economics, computer science, law, physics, biology and chemistry.
Army corps commander visits Nimroz border checkpoints
The Ministry of National Defense of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) says that Alhaji Mullah Sharafuddin Taqi, the commander of the 215 Azam Army Corps, traveled to Nimroz province on Wednesday, at the head of a delegation and visited the 3rd and 5th border checkpoints located on the border with Iran.
The defense ministry said in a statement that the commander met with Nimroz officials, including the provincial police chief, and discussed the need to improve coordination between the forces and border protection.
Referring to the recent cross-border skirmish with Iran, the commander of the 215 Azam Army Corps said: “The Islamic Emirate considers border protection its responsibility and is committed to establishing diplomatic relations with neighboring countries.”
However, he called the forces the defenders of borders, territorial integrity and independence of the country and promised to cooperate in solving their problems.
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