Rome — Focus is on saving lives and livelihoods to sustain peace and tackle hunger
The African Union (AU) and FAO will seek to step up joint efforts to end hunger and sustain peace in the continent say FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko .
In a meeting on Tuesday, Graziano da Silva and Commissioner Sacko underscored conflicts as a common denominator in areas facing food crises in the continent. "Conflict exacerbates hunger and in many cases hunger and food insecurity to intensify strife and social unrest," the FAO Director-General said.
Protracted conflict in particular in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and in Yemen, which is also a experiencing a hunger crisis, has left 30 million people, mostly children, in the throes of severe food insecurity, with 20 million potentially facing starvation.
Commissioner Correia Sacko and the FAO Director-General stressed the need for the AU, FAO, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the World Food Programme (WFP) to work closely together to strengthen the links between sustaining peace, livelihoods and sustainable development.
"If you have peace you can build the resilience, through agriculture, pastoralism and all other activities related to food security," Commissioner Correia Sacko said while delivering the Malabo Business Plan to the Director General.
For his part, Graziano da Silva emphasized that: "even in conflict situations, there is much we can do to fight hunger, to save lives and give hope to affected people. Saving livelihoods means saving lives."
Correia Sacko was in Rome to attend the World Food Programme Executive Board, which included a High-Level Event on Fighting Famine convened by WFP and FAO, where FAO Director General stressed the direct correlation between conflict and food insecurity.