Security Council meeting 4736

Date7 April 2003
S-PV-4736 2003-04-07 15:00 7 April 2003 [[7 April]] [[2003]] /

Africa’s food crisis as a threat to peace and security Briefing by Mr. James Morris, Executive Director of the World Food Programme

The meeting was called to order at 3.20 p.m.

Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted.

Africa’s food crisis as a threat to peace and security

Briefing by Mr. James Morris, Executive Director of the World Food Programme
The President

In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, and in the absence of objection, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. James Morris, Executive Director of the World Food Programme.

It is so decided.

I invite the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, Mr. James Morris, to take a seat at the Council table.

On behalf of the Council, I extend a warm welcome to the Executive Director of the World Food Programme.

The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Security Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.

At this meeting, the Security Council will hear a briefing by the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, Mr. James Morris. After the briefing, I will give the floor to those members who wish to address questions to Mr. Morris.

I now give the floor to Mr. Morris.

Mr. Morris (Executive Director of the World Food Programme)

I thank you very much, Sir, for the distinct privilege, pleasure and honour of being with you today on behalf of the World Food Programme.

The purpose of my visit is to talk about Africa, probably with a focus on Southern Africa, but, like all members of the Council, the World Food Programme is very focused on issues in Iraq. We have had a presence in Iraq since 1991 and have been a major implementer of the oil for food programme since late 1995. I would be pleased to entertain members’ questions or comments about the work of the World Food Programme in Iraq after I conclude my opening statement.

Our work in Iraq focuses on the potential of having to feed 27 million people in that country at a cost of $1.3 billion for a period of six months. It is interesting that my assignment today is to talk about Africa, where nearly 200 million people are malnourished and 50 million are severely at risk, especially women and children. People in Iraq have had a generous Government food supply. I can tell the Council today that most people in Iraq have food in their households for the next month. It is ironic that, if people in parts of Africa had a month’s worth of food in supply in their homes, they would be overwhelmed. In fact, we have a bit of a double standard in the world. How is it that we routinely accept a level of suffering and hopelessness in Africa that we would never accept in any other part of the world? My view is that we simply cannot let this stand.

The causes of Africa’s food crises remain much as I described them in December — a lethal combination of recurring droughts; difficult, failed economic policies; hostility and conflict; and the extraordinary, almost unquantifiable impact of HIV/AIDS. The World Food Programme will have a budget in Africa this year of $1.8 billion. May I tell you that this equals the entire budget of the World Food Programme worldwide in 2002.

Worldwide, global food-aid commitments have dropped precipitously over the last 10 years, from 15 million metric tons in 1999 to less than 10 million last year. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) would tell us that chronic hunger is actually rising in the developing world outside China and the World Health Organization would tell us that hunger is still the greatest factor in poor health in the world.

There is good news. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has placed the issue of African hunger at the top of his agenda. Secondly, France and the United States are working together, within the framework of the G8, to focus the world on the African food crises. President Chirac will put this issue at the top of the agenda at the G8 meeting in Evian in June and President Bush has announced the creation of a new $200 million fund to prevent famine in Africa.

In Southern Africa, and to a lesser degree in the Horn of Africa, the impact of AIDS on the political and economic structure grows daily. In January, I returned to the region along with Stephen Lewis, who is the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. We were struck by the impact the disease was having on both governance and the food sector, and on how the two were intertwined. Much of Africa’s political and technical talent is dying or emigrating — a huge depletion of African human resources. More than 7 million African farmers have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. The peak impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa will not be felt until 2005-2007.

How do you turn around food production in countries that no longer have a viable agricultural extension service? How do rural children learn to farm when their parents are too sick to teach them? How do you maintain a basic educational system for children when their teachers are dying faster than new ones can be trained?

In a conversation with the President of Zambia that I will never forget, he said, “Jim, the most important thing you can do for the people of Zambia is to help us train teachers. Last year we lost 2,000 teachers to death by HIV/AIDS in Zambia, and we were only able to replace half of them”.

The good news is that because of the generosity of many countries and the work of the World Food Programme (WFP), our non-governmental organization partners and other important United Nations agencies, we were able to deliver more than 620,000 tons of food in the region to more than 10 million people, and serious death and starvation were avoided.

The issue of genetically modified (GM) food has faded and is no longer delaying or disrupting deliveries. Five of the six countries needing aid in Southern Africa are accepting processed and milled GM food. We simply could not have reached the level of food deliveries we have now attained without the constructive problem-solving undertaken as it relates to the GM issue.

The WFP remains especially concerned about Zimbabwe, where there have been numerous media reports that food assistance is being politicized. We are confident that this is not the case with our food. In the few instances where we have received credible reports of abuse, we suspended those operations. I have met with President Mugabe six times, and we have offered the services of the United Nations to monitor and verify the food being distributed by the Government there, but we have not yet received a positive response. Inflation, Government monopolization of the food sector and the impact of the land redistribution scheme are likely to mean that the food situation will not stabilize any time soon in Zimbabwe.

Our goal is not to politicize but to depoliticize food aid in Zimbabwe. Food should be available to all, based on humanitarian principles, with any other consideration being absolutely inappropriate. That is the case everywhere we work. Hungry people cannot afford to be caught in political crossfire. There are those who would have us pull out in crisis situations to punish Governments and to take a stand on political or human rights issues. But WFP believes that emergency aid simply cannot be politicized, for good or for ill. When people in power, be they Government or rebels, deny food aid to certain vulnerable groups of the population, we will speak out. While we see our role as neutral and much like that of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, our member States have also asked us to be advocates for the hungry. That has put us on a tightrope and in a perpetual balancing act. When Governments take economic actions, such as banning private trade or monopolizing food imports, which undermine the food sector and exacerbate hunger, our member States expect us to speak out, and we will.

With respect to the situation in Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Sudan — the Horn of Africa — the numbers of people at risk are comparable to those in Southern Africa. In Southern Africa, a little more than 15 million people are at risk, with half of them in Zimbabwe. More than 11 million people are absolutely at risk of hunger in Ethiopia, with another 3 million on the edge: 20 to 25 per cent of the population.

In Eritrea, the situation is much more difficult. It is a smaller country with a smaller population, but with 2.2 of the 3.3 million people absolutely at risk. The situation is further complicated by the conflict, with a good many members of the military yet to be resituated to their home towns.

Clearly, drought is the major culprit in the Horn of Africa. We have had good response to our needs for Ethiopia but a mediocre response to our work in Eritrea. The interesting thing about Ethiopia is that of all the countries in the world it has the highest per capita emergency support and the lowest per capita development support. I had the good fortune to be there recently, and I visited communities where a few hundred dollars’ worth of food properly used in food-for-work programmes helped communities plan for their future, think about soil and soil erosion and think about the impoundment of water. They planned and prepared, and they will get through this crisis. In the experience, they developed a cadre of community leadership that will serve those communities superbly for a long period of time.

Meanwhile, a few miles away, that kind of preparation — investments in prevention and development — was not made, and they are in a catastrophe. There are probably 10,000 communities in Ethiopia that need this kind of help. We are working in 800 right now.

Food security has also deteriorated in the western Sahel — Mauritania, Cape Verde, the Gambia, Senegal and Mali — with approximately a million people at risk. We are grateful to many member countries for the investments that they have made in our early warning food response systems. We were not prepared for the problem in Ethiopia of 15 years ago. With the new early response systems, assessment systems and surveillance systems, we are now much better prepared to respond.

The issues in Angola, also in Southern Africa, are a bit different, coming out of 30 to 40 years of conflict and armed violence. The good news is that there is peace on the ground. Food is critical to the recovery of the Angolan economy and to maintaining the peace. It was our initial intent to feed about a million people in Angola. Today, we are feeding 1.8 million people. By June, the number will be 2.2 million people. Angola is a wealthy country that needs, over time, to develop a substantial agricultural system.

With respect to the issue of refugees and internally displaced people, the World Food Programme cooperates with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. It is our responsibility to provide the food. Today, in Africa, we are feeding 1.8 million refugees and 5.7 million internally displaced people. It is hugely expensive. The turmoil that this can cause if it is not done properly will have enormous effects on the countries where we work. This is a particularly difficult issue in western coastal Africa. Members have all followed the issues in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia, where there are between 4 million and 5 million refugees — people moving about. The conflict is producing enormous chaos in the region.

There are things that we need to do and things that we can do. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and WFP have warned that the fate of more than 1.2 million refugees in Africa is uncertain due to the lack of funding for much needed food aid. There are places where we have had to cut rations in half or by 25 per cent. Major interruptions in the food pipeline are feared in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Algeria and the Sudan: the major nations in Africa that host refugees.

A few weeks ago here at the United Nations, we had a very positive session with the Group of Eight, which the Secretary-General kicked off, in which we talked about what the world needs to do to get the issues in Africa on a firmer foundation. We talked about the fact that Africans themselves will ultimately have to provide the leadership. They will be responsible for their own domestic policies. Global trade issues will have to be resolved in such a way that they do not become such a huge disincentive for agricultural production and export in places in Africa.

The specific points that we left with the group on that occasion are as follows.

First, we need a far stronger donor commitment to emergency food aid based on better targeting and more sophisticated early-warning systems. The World Food Programme is funded entirely with voluntary contributions from countries. We receive no core funding from the United Nations. We are the largest humanitarian agency in the world, and our annual budget is larger than the United Nations budget for its New York City operation. We receive 90 per cent of our support from nine countries plus the European Community. There are two dozen more countries that now have the capability to help us, and there are many countries that now have agricultural surpluses that can help us by providing commodity but that do not have the cash to pay for transportation.

We have looked for ways to twin countries that have cash with countries that have commodities, and we will see how we can make that work. The leverage is enormous. India has committed a million metric tons of wheat for Afghanistan in part for us to produce high-energy biscuits for a million school children in Afghanistan. We need help from countries that can help with the transportation of the wheat biscuits that are produced in India. We have had good support for the first time ever from the Russian Federation. We are working hard to bring new partners into our programme.

Secondly, there is a need for a substantial increase in support for investment in basic agricultural infrastructure, both micro and macro, especially irrigation infrastructure, but also roads and markets. There is a need to make agricultural work easier on women. Women do 80 per cent of the agricultural work in Africa. Women now are 58 per cent of those infected with HIV/AIDS in Africa. They are expected to produce the food and to serve the food. They are expected to give care to so many people who are critically ill in their homes or regions. The world needs to focus on making agricultural production easier for women in Africa.

I had a good visit with the Minister of Agriculture of Malawi. He said, “Jim, the most important thing the world could do for us would be to invest about $77 million in an irrigation system that would serve Malawi countrywide.” Malawi is a country with huge lakes and huge water resources, and a properly constructed irrigation system would address its agricultural issues in a very substantial way. The Secretary-General’s call for a green revolution in Africa is one of the most important statements to be made recently.

Thirdly, we propose funding of a $300 million African food emergency fund that would be an immediate response account that can be used at the very outset of a food crisis. Our emergency response account now has $35 million, and our experience suggests that those dollars that are available to invest immediately when there is a crisis on the horizon are those that allow families to keep their farms together and to not sell their coping mechanisms; a little help at the beginning is worth a lot of help later on in the process.

I should also say that in the crisis in Southern Africa, we were very successful in raising cash and commodities to meet the food requirements. We were not very successful in raising the resources for non-food items. Water and sanitation, health, medicine, vaccination and educational issues are every bit as important as food, and somehow the donor community — and as head of WFP I am grateful for this — finds it easier to focus on food and more difficult to focus on other issues. Investments made in farm implements, seed and fertilizer have enormous leverage and help to put people back on their feet. I would encourage members to take a look at those kinds of issues.

I mentioned the issue of non-traditional donors.

Finally, let me say that the piece of our work that I consider to be maybe the most important is our work with school feeding. There are 300 million hungry children in the world. If we take the Millennium Development Goal of cutting hunger and poverty in half by 2015 seriously — there are 800 million hungry people in the world, nearly 40 per cent of them children; half of the children do not go to school, and most of those are girls — the single most important investment we can make is in educating children. Educated children become better citizens, better teachers, better parents and better farmers. Whatever one chooses to do with one’s life, a person’s education directly affects the quality of life and the quality of the community.

We know how to feed a child in school for about $35 per year. For less than $1 per year, we can have extraordinary health interventions led by the World Health Organization (WHO) that reduce worms and all sorts of other serious health issues. We fed 16 million children last year; we need to feed 100 million worldwide and we need to feed another 50 million in Africa. This will be the single best investment, with great leverage, that we can make worldwide in beginning to turn the future of Africa around.

I am more grateful than I could ever express to the many countries that have helped us. Last week I had the most remarkable phone call from Canada. Canada committed $75 million over the next three years to feed school children. I just had a terrific visit in Switzerland, and Switzerland committed to feed an additional 10,000 school children. We are working hard to engage the private sector with our work. A magnificent Dutch company — TPG — with 150,000 employees committed each one of its employees to feed a school child. If we are thoughtful and resourceful about this and cover a wide range of territory, we will have the opportunity to change the world by feeding school children.

I want to underline the critical importance of peacekeeping and diplomacy. War and conflict, in Africa as elsewhere, quickly lead to hunger. People who are hungry and without food have risky behaviours and tend to be more aggressive. War and conflict cut productivity, increase HIV/AIDS, increase populations of refugees and internally displaced persons and dramatically affect children. War changes the focus of the way countries do their business. There is no doubt that in much of Africa hunger and poverty are fuelling conflict and robbing Africans of the bright future they deserve. Their suffering cannot be any less to us than the suffering we see elsewhere in the world today. We all must do more to help.

The President

I thank the Executive Director of the World Food Programme for his timely and very relevant briefing on a problem that directly affects a very large population.

I wish to remind the members of the Council that we have a very long list of subjects to address this afternoon and that we would like to take full advantage of Mr. Morris’ presence. Therefore, I request members of the Council to limit questions and comments to strictly necessary ones so that this can be an interactive information meeting, rather than a meeting of statements.

Mr. Cunningham (United States)

My thanks go to Mr. Morris. That was really a superb presentation on this very, very difficult situation. I want to thank him also for his hard work and his organization’s hard work in trying to deal with it.

Unfortunately, Mr. Morris has outlined the elements of an emergency that force us to deal with the short term and with chronic cases. In his comments he pointed to many of the other elements that make this even more intractable: man-made complications, the politicization of food, the effects of war. We join Mr. Morris in opposing food being used as a weapon, and we are particularly alarmed at the impact of HIV/AIDS, for many of the reasons he described.

What I wanted to ask Mr. Morris is, given all this, what has been his most recent message to donors on the crisis? What have the responses been and what does he assess to be the unmet needs still before us in 2003?

Mr. Belinga-Eboutou (Cameroon)

I would like to say how very pleased we are to have Mr. James Morris, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), here with us. He has spoken to us about an extremely difficult and relevant issue: the food crisis in Africa, which poses a threat to international peace and security.

We have heard to some extent a repetition of what we were told last December regarding the major obstacles to the activities of the WFP: weather conditions, health/sanitation conditions, HIV/AIDS and those that could also be considered as man-made, such as civil disorder, conflict and problems of governance.

The question I would like to ask Mr. Morris — in response to your appeal, Mr. President, to get straight to the heart of the matter — is the following. The mandate of the WFP was expanded in 1999 to make the Programme an instrument for development. In fact, WFP was called on to use food assistance, essentially and as a priority, to support economic and social development actions. This was the primary objective. The other objectives relate to so-called emergency situations where there is a need to cope with the immediate needs of refugees and of populations that have fallen victim to humanitarian crises.

At present, the emergency functions and objectives seem to be, in fact, highly pivotal to what the WFP is doing. What about the essential function aimed at preventing emergency situations, namely, the use of food assistance to support development actions? That is my question to the Executive Director; it refers to WFP’s new mandate. We pay tribute to WFP’s work, which is so beneficial in emergency situations, including today in Iraq. But that does not prevent us from going back to the crux of the mandate, which is to support development action to prevent emergency situations.

Mr. Valdés (Chile)

I thank Mr. Morris for his briefing and for the valuable information he has given to the Council today.

As previous speakers have mentioned, one can only be powerfully struck by the dimensions of the task, by the severity of the crisis and by the difficulties faced by the World Food Programme (WFP) in trying to cope with situations, such as that of Ethiopia and Eritrea, whose urgency Mr. Morris has described. Like Ambassador Cunningham, we wonder how the WFP can today face an emergency affecting 11 million inhabitants without being certain — or at least, we are not certain — about what the actual donations expected from member countries would be? So my first question would be along the same lines as that raised by Ambassador Cunningham: given a situation such as Ethiopia and Eritrea, what assistance can we expect to receive in order to tackle the magnitude of the crisis?

Secondly, it is clear that when it is said that chronic hunger is growing in the developing world and that hunger in the world is still the main reason for medical emergencies or shortcomings, we are dealing with questions concerning the system. As the representative of Cameroon said, we are facing problems which have to do with development policies and how we address them. The United Nations has a toolbox for this. For decades, we have developed bodies within the United Nations whose function it is to assess the situation in developing countries and to try to provide, particularly through the Economic and Social Council, responses that relate to how the international system can tackle these questions. I would like to ask Mr. Morris if he has any further thoughts about this.

Lastly, while entirely aware of the seriousness of the situation in Africa, Mr. Morris explained at the beginning of his speech the tasks that the WFP is undertaking in Iraq. I would like to raise the possibility that we hold another meeting in which Mr. Morris could directly address that issue.

Mr. Schumacher (Germany)

I thank Mr. Morris very much for a superb presentation and, in particular, for his continuous efforts to brief the Council. I would like to challenge somewhat one of the initial observations that he made in saying that we routinely accept a situation in Africa that we would not otherwise accept in other parts of the world. Are we really routinely accepting such a situation in Africa? Is it not more something like, may I say, donor fatigue?

I recall correctly that some 10 years ago, there was another serious food crisis in Southern Africa, and the international community responded very efficiently to the call of the WFP and others to cope with that crisis. Now, we are again faced with the same situation.

Mr. Morris mentioned that there are two intertwined problems — the scourge of HIV/AIDS and the food crisis — and he and others have vaguely referred to man-made problems. Are there not three intertwined elements that create the deadly brew that makes it almost impossible to cope with these sorts of problems worldwide? Is not the combination of bad governance, HIV/AIDS and the food crisis the problem that we are facing today?

In that context, my question is the following. Would Mr. Morris agree that, without a sound approach to the establishment of good governance worldwide, any isolated effort to come to grips with HIV/AIDS or the food crisis would remain a piecemeal approach? I should like to recall that good governance is an important element and an important objective in the Millennium Declaration, which was adopted by our heads of State three years ago. Unfortunately, it does not fall under the heading of “Millennium Development Goals”. I very much hope that, when Millennium Development Goals are mentioned in future discussions of this issue as a justified appeal to donors to help us cope with these problems, this third element of good governance also becomes an important objective.

Mr. Akram (Pakistan)

My delegation would like to join others in expressing our appreciation to Mr. James Morris for his excellent and comprehensive briefing. We are aware of the outstanding work that the World Food Programme has performed in so many crises — including in a neighbouring country, Afghanistan — and we have a very high regard for that organization.

In the context of the presentation that we heard this afternoon, the central issue for us to explore is the specific link between the food crisis in Africa and the threat to peace and security. I would be very interested to know whether Mr. Morris has any thoughts about exactly how that relationship exists — whether it exists in a negative way and possibly could be established in a positive way.

Mr. Morris has said that our goal is not to politicize food aid but to depoliticize it — in Zimbabwe, for example — and that food should be available to all on the basis of humanitarian principles. I think that is absolutely correct as far as it goes. But, for example, could we use the provision of food assistance — food security — as an incentive for conflict resolution in some of the crises faced in Africa and perhaps elsewhere? Without politicizing and without depriving people of humanitarian needs, could the provision not only of food aid but also of agricultural assistance, development and technical support be utilized as elements of conflict resolution in Africa and elsewhere?

Secondly, I should like to pose perhaps a more immediate question to Mr. Morris. There is a looming drought and a conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa. How does he think the drought has exacerbated the conflict or has acted to the contrary? I believe that the food aid received by Ethiopia is perhaps more generous than that received by Eritrea. Are there any reasons for that, and, if so, are they related to the conflict that is under way? Those are some thoughts that arise from the briefing.

Finally, I should like to say that I support the proposal of my colleague Ambassador Valdés that the Security Council receive a similar briefing with regard to the situation in Iraq.

The President

I should now like to give Mr. Morris the opportunity to respond to the questions raised. That will allow Council members who wish to pose questions that Mr. Morris has already answered to skip those questions and focus on the responses that he will now give us. I call on Mr. Morris.

Mr. Morris (Executive Director of the World Food Programme)

In response to the question from the representative of the United States — and I thank the United States; it should be said that in 2001 the United States provided more than 60 per cent of the humanitarian assistance for the World Food Programme — the most recent message that we have been trying to convey as it relates to Southern Africa — and, by the way, I agree completely with the representative of Germany’s comment about leadership and governance; they are pivotal and basic to everything — we are overwhelmed with the issue of children. There are 11 million AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa. Zimbabwe has 780,000 orphans; Malawi and Zambia have somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000 orphans. Half the families are headed by someone older than 65, and it is not uncommon to see a family of five children headed by a little girl 14 years of age who is the same size as my 7-year-old granddaughter. The world’s responsibility for these children is enormous in terms of their education, their food and their health.

That has also had the most devastating impact on the human resource structure of Governments and institutions. I mentioned the loss of teachers and the depletion and loss of human resources. We are at a point where we are talking about replenishing systems. Essentially, the medical personnel in Southern Africa — the doctors, nurses and pharmacists — are gone. The talent that will be necessary to address these issues is enormous. So we must focus on children and on human resource talent. The HIV/AIDS issue is enormous. More than half a million people died in those six countries last year as a result of HIV/AIDS; 30 million people are infected in Africa, up 3.5 per cent from last year; and 34 per cent of the adult population in Zimbabwe is affected by HIV/AIDS, with comparable numbers elsewhere in that part of the world.

We have been focusing on the importance of agricultural investment both in a micro sense and in a macro sense, and on the importance of broadening the donor base. Everyone in the world has the primary responsibility to look after his or her own, but we all have some responsibility for those elsewhere who are worse off than we are. We are working very hard at growing our donor base. We will need 3.8 million metric tons of food to do our work in Africa this year; we will need $1.8 billion, plus the $300 million that we carried over from last year.

Eight of our 10 top donors increased their support for the World Food Programme dramatically last year. We need to keep that support growing. We need new donors, and we need help from the private sector.

With regard to the question from Cameroon — we have a regional office in Yaoundé; Cameroon has been a great friend — 10 years ago, 80 per cent of our support was for development. Today, 80 per cent of our support is for emergency relief. I do not know what has happened in the world — I am not a scientist. But, working with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, we are conducting three times as many natural disaster assessments today as we did in 1965, and twice as many as in 1990.

There has been a change. There are presumably limited resources, and the resources have gone to keep people alive and to reduce human suffering in an emergency context. In emergencies we try as much as possible to ensure that our work has long-term development implications. If we feed a child and encourage that child to go to school, that is development. If we feed a child and enhance the nutritional content of the food with iodine, vitamin A or iron, that is development in a human resource for that country for a long period of time. Some of our most important investments are in food-for-work programmes, whereby we make resources available to feed people if they participate in the rebuilding of a community’s infrastructure. In that way the community wins and the family wins.

We are very troubled by the fact that today only 20 per cent of our resources are aimed at long-term development — at prevention. That is a huge problem in a place like Ethiopia; it is a huge problem around the world.

Our colleague from Chile asked a question about assistance required for Ethiopia and Eritrea. It has been our plan to feed about 40 per cent of the hungry people in Ethiopia, with the rest being handled by the Government, by non-governmental organizations or bilaterally. We have been raising something in the neighbourhood of $205 million there. We are doing a good job — we have raised about 70 per cent of what we need. The issue in Eritrea is much more difficult. We looked to raise more than $100 million, but the response has been less than 20 per cent. We work very well with the Government of Ethiopia.

With regard to the question raised by the representative of Pakistan about the conflict, my sense is that there are 900,000 soldiers still in the Eritrean army who are being repatriated. Not having that manpower available for agricultural work has been a huge factor in the problem in Eritrea. So I think that the conflict has exacerbated the problem — there is no question about that.

Investments in early warning systems, in assessment systems and in surveillance systems for agriculture and health are incredibly important. That gets to the issue of knowing what is likely to happen as soon as possible and being prepared for it. We need to make more investments in doing that better. The technology is there. In analysing what the problems are, historically we have looked only at food issues. But as we do our assessments today and analyse the severity of a problem, we need to look at other issues, too.

I agree completely with my colleague from Germany. The issue of governance and leadership is a prime responsibility. Some countries, such as Zimbabwe, are having very difficult problems right now. I am a little more optimistic about the agricultural situation of Malawi and Zambia this year — likewise Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland. But the number of people at risk in Zimbabwe has increased, and agricultural production has not increased. Foreign exchange, which would allow for imports, is not available. The private sector does not function there. The donor community does function there. Those are issues that will require enormous leadership if the situation is to be turned around.

The question from Pakistan about tying peace and security to food issues was absolutely on target. There is no question in my mind that hungry people behave differently from people who are not hungry. When people are fed and begin to learn they have hope and opportunity in their lives, and lives with hope, opportunity and a future are less likely to be violent. Clearly, we have talked about the issue of refugees and internally displaced persons. We have used food to some degree in conflict resolution in Angola and Sierra Leone. We have offered food as an incentive for people to lay down their weapons, and that has worked pretty well. Beyond that, this is an issue that I think we would be interested in thinking a little more about. We try to stay focused on the humanitarian agenda — the world does not want people to starve. We are especially concerned about the very vulnerable people at risk, including women and children. We try to absent ourselves from all of the other political debates going on. But the representative of Pakistan raised a question worth considering.

The President

I thank Mr. Morris for his answers.

Mr. Tafrov (Bulgaria)

I would like briefly to make two comments and to ask Mr. Morris a question. First, I would like to thank him for his eloquent statement, which I believe will prompt us to reflect further on what actions the Security Council can take.

That leads me to my second comment. I would like to thank you in particular, Mr. President, for having included today’s meeting on our programme. We now realize that the food situation in Southern Africa and elsewhere in the continent has direct implications for the security of Africa, while security — or, rather, insecurity — has negative implications for the food situation.

From that perspective, I believe that it is extremely important for the Council in future to have the knowledge and the capacity necessary to enable it to integrate information and other factors relating to food security into its approach to conflict in Africa. In that regard, I wholeheartedly support the proposal of Ambassador Valdés. I believe that the Council should go even further; we should not be timid or worry about going beyond our area of competence.

My question to Mr. Morris relates to Somalia. He referred to the Horn of Africa. The question of Somalia is on the Council’s agenda; that country is experiencing severe problems. What is the situation regarding food security in that country in the Horn of Africa? What is the attitude of the donor countries and of donors in general towards Somalia?

Sir Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom)

I share colleagues’ feelings on the importance of this briefing this afternoon and on the terrific role which the World Food Programme (WFP) is playing. I would like the Council’s praise for that to go to the whole team led by Mr. Morris. It is a huge team effort — one of the most impressive United Nations agency performances of all.

I want to home back in on why we are here in the Security Council, listening to this briefing. I want to put the question to Mr. Morris as to what he expects from the Security Council on this. He is saying that, increasingly, WFP is looking at symptoms, not causes, and dealing with the outflow of misery from hunger and other related problems. That means, as he says, that the Programme is looking at more than food issues and increasingly less able — I take this as implicit in what he is saying — to deal with the causes of what is happening.

And yet, the causes are, as I gather from his report, as much structural as they are emergency, or due to bad luck or bad climate. Therefore, the United Nations system should be doing something about those structural causes, as well as addressing the misery that comes out of the lack of food and health worldwide. Yes, it is production policy and the arrangements for food production; yes, it is always never enough donor activity; yes, we could do with twice as much money and twice as many agencies doing it all; but it also has to do with the interplay with health problems, particularly HIV/AIDS; with peace and security on the ground; with governance; and with long-term problems and short-term problems.

We can go on analysing, and Mr. Morris’s oral and written statements do that; but in the written version, the seven proposals, as well as the six he mentioned orally at the end of his presentation, are not really the responsibility of the Security Council, as such. They are a responsibility of the United Nations family, the donor countries and the Governments on the ground. Yet, Mr. Morris ended by saying how critically important the peacekeeping and diplomatic aspects are.

I would like him, perhaps, to give examples of what the Security Council could actually do. There are three things in my mind. One is, of course, conflict resolution. He has pointed to Angola and Sierra Leone as having got better; Ethiopia/Eritrea as not yet better enough; and perhaps Côte d’Ivoire and other places getting worse. Liberia is still a problem and other parts where there are rebellions and wars are still difficult.

Secondly, there is the problem of politicization and of governance. Perhaps that, too, is an area where the Security Council can play a role.

The third area — one we have not really talked about yet, but one we ought to discuss among ourselves and with our sister organizations — is coordination. If, behind this picture of starvation and misery, there is not just climate, agricultural policy and what is happening on the ground in the agricultural area, but also health and governance and wars and all sorts of other things, should not the interplay between WFP and the Security Council be looking at the coordination of the response? It is not all our business to get into these areas, but it is our business to do part of it and therefore to work with others in doing all of it. Does he not see a crying need for better coordination within the international and the United Nations systems, much of which may come back to the governance problem?

Mr. Morris mentioned Zimbabwe because it is the one area of Southern Africa which is getting so much worse than the others. He did not say “unnecessarily”, but he did not point to a climatic or a coincidental reason. There are things there that, from a human perspective, could go better; ditto in some other parts of Africa, where the right policies could make this immediately better. To what extent does Mr. Morris believe that the Security Council is making a difference? Since he only has a few further minutes left with us today, what would he like us specifically to do, until he comes back to talk to us about it again, to make what he sees, from the WFP viewpoint, start improving, rather than continue to go worse?

Ms. Menéndez (Spain)

I should like to thank you first of all, Sir, for having organized this interesting meeting, which we deem to be very important. I should also like to thank Mr. Morris for his very interesting briefing, which was concise but very instructive. Mr. Morris gave us information that was very graphic and stark. We see the reality of the problem very clearly.

We have two questions. The first is perhaps connected to what Ambassador Greenstock just said, but we wish to ask more specifically: Have we effectively learned the lessons from success stories and from less successful stories of the past, in cases where famine in Africa has been averted and where it has not? Can the World Food Programme (WFP) tell us what the Security Council has done, if anything, in those cases, and what such action might entail in the future?

My second question concerns a concept that Mr. Morris included in his briefing and which he spoke about in passing in his first series of answers to our questions. This is the concept of replenishment. He said that it is currently very difficult to have a capacity-building policy when, for example, parents have died or are ill and cannot pass their knowledge in the agricultural sphere on to their children. Has WFP, singly or in cooperation with other agencies, considered the idea of capacity-replenishment, which Mr. Morris, I believe, mentioned earlier?

Mr. Duclos (France)

Allow me in turn to convey our gratitude to Mr. Morris for his extremely interesting statement, which I believe both contained highly significant data and figures and communicated a sense of the human experience.

We, too, attach the greatest of importance to the question of the food crisis in Africa. As Mr. Morris said, we hope to take advantage of our leadership of the G8 in order to place this issue at the top of its agenda.

With respect to Mr. Morris’s briefing, I think we were all struck by the magnitude of the crisis and by everything he had to say regarding the interaction of various factors that contribute to and further exacerbate the crisis. Many questions raised by my colleagues here addressed in one form or another the factors contributing to the food crisis.

I was struck by the fact that Mr. Morris spoke a great deal of Southern Africa. Southern Africa is perhaps the region that combines the most worrisome factors of the current food situation in Africa. Perhaps that is because it is a region that is not prepared — or is less prepared than others — for large-scale famines and because it is there that the phenomenon of the ravages of AIDS is most glaring, to the extent that perhaps it is the region that most urgently causes us to ask whether the current number of deaths will compromise life in the future and the capacity of those societies to recover for the future.

Mr. Morris said that he wanted to concentrate on the humanitarian aspect of the question of food. Therefore we should not ask him too much about the overall strategy or related issues. However, all the questions we have asked naturally touch somewhat on the issue of whether, in these particularly terrible situations, it is necessary to reconsider the international community’s overall strategy with respect to those societies? It is a question that cannot be resolved with a few minutes’ discussion.

However, in that context, I would like to ask a more specific question: on the basis of his experience, does Mr. Morris consider, for example, in Southern Africa — which it seemed to me was the most striking and illustrative case — is all the necessary coordination among the principal actors of the international community actually in place, or is there a need further to unite our energies to deal with this problem from the various angles he himself has mentioned? I thank Mr. Morris for his attention.

I might add that I, too, would be interested in a later briefing by Mr. Morris on Iraq. But I, too, would like him to give us some preliminary information this afternoon, as he proposed earlier.

Mr. Boubacar Diallo (Guinea)

I would like to join preceding speakers in expressing my delegation’s full appreciation to Mr. James Morris for his very rich and instructive briefing on the food crisis in Africa. The last time Mr. Morris spoke to the Council on this issue was on 3 December 2002. The briefing that he has just given leads to the general impression that the picture is far from rosy. Rather, it is the opposite. The food situation in Africa is becoming increasingly alarming due, as he said, to several causes that vary from one area to another and from one country to another.

My question relates to the approach that must be adopted to solve the food crisis in Africa. Is there coordination among the various actors involved in the fight for food security in Africa? If there is, how does it function? If there is not, could a viable mechanism be put in place to make this fight more effective?

Mr. Mekdad (Syria)

I would like to join preceding speakers in welcoming Mr. Morris and to express my satisfaction at his very informative briefing. This is one of the most urgent and important of issues and is one to which the Security Council has not devoted enough time. As Ambassador Greenstock mentioned, there are certain limits to the responsibilities of the Security Council. This issue relates to the responsibility of States and, as Ambassador Schumacher of Germany said, to good governance. However, despite those limitations, I think that this issue is very important. It deserves further consideration so that we can clarify the role that the Council could play in resolving this important problem.

At the start of his presentation, Mr. Morris mentioned the timely issue of Iraq. We are closely watching the role played by the World Food Programme (WFP) within the framework of the oil-for-food programme. I think that it has played a very constructive role. I believe Mr. Morris will agree with me when I say that the situation has changed since the war in Iraq began. We believe that there is a new role for the WFP and humanitarian agencies to play, which would be separate from the role of the oil-for-food programme. That is because the oil-for-food programme was limited to meeting the needs of the Iraqi people during a specific period of time and in a very specific situation. But now, everything has changed. There is a war. That war must be governed by the Geneva Conventions, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention. We believe that we should not use the Iraqi people’s own funds to assist them. We should not take money from their pockets in order to feed them. International funds have to be used. Does the WFP now have the necessary funds to meet the new needs created by the war?

Mr. Gaspar Martins (Angola)

I too would like to thank Mr. Morris for coming here. It is not an accident that he is coming to the Security Council. One might ask why. Mr. Morris deals with food; the Security Council deals with peace and security. Yet, it is important that he has come here. I think the link was established also by what Ambassador Greenstock touched on.

I think that at one point in Mr. Morris’s presentation, he said that what Africa needs is a green revolution, meaning the opposite of the type of revolutions that we have been seeing, which are, perhaps, red revolutions — we see a lot of blood. We need to change that. Very often, the inadequacy of food supplies, famine and the drastic situations that exist in quite a number of places create conditions conducive to disturbances.

Let me raise a question. I too have noted a point that Mr. Morris mentioned: 80 per cent of the resources of the World Food Programme are devoted to emergency situations — in other words, food distribution. Only 20 per cent is devoted to development, meaning food production or addressing other conditions. Something that was mentioned was the question of perhaps investing in more early warning systems, which are needed to prevent some of the food crisis situations. My question is, how is this trend changing? How is Mr. Morris’s thinking evolving towards a situation where we are looking more at food production and investing more in resources for development to create the conditions for food production, rather than at dealing with emergencies. Granted, there are situations that are emergencies. But in some of these situations — some of them have been mentioned, and one of them is in my country — we will go from crisis situations to post-conflict situations, and the 80 per cent that we are talking about will probably be reduced.

In what direction are we moving? In other words, are we moving in the direction of investing more in development and less elsewhere, in order to do what Mr. Morris mentioned in terms of the green revolution he spoke of?

Mr. Zhang Yishan (China)

I listened very attentively to the detailed and informative briefing of Mr. Morris. It has been very helpful in providing us with a better understanding of the food situation in Africa. However, it must be acknowledged that the picture he presented to us, in which 40 million people lack food and face malnutrition, is very grave. Without the strenuous efforts of Mr. Morris and his colleagues, the situation today would be ever more grim and terrifying.

We have a saying in China: if you give a fish to a person, he or she can merely eat it as a meal. But if you teach a person to fish, then he or she will benefit from that for life and will live in comfort. Therefore, it is obvious that, in addition to providing aid, a better approach to eliminating poverty and the lack of food is to teach people to fish.

I seek clarification about whether or not the WFP works with other international organizations to increase capacity for self-reliance, so that emergency aid can produce better results.

The President

I wish to make a comment and to ask a question in my capacity as the representative of Mexico.

As Mr. Morris has starkly shown, the food situation in Southern Africa and in other parts of Africa clearly leaves us perplexed in the light of a commitment that the international community still has not managed to fully meet. But food security, which is a moral imperative and a colossal challenge, is also an issue that must be resolved through profound changes in the region.

It is clear that human beings have an inalienable right to a healthy and balanced diet. To that end, an immediate challenge is to increase sustainable food production and, on that basis, make the benefits of that production available to the most vulnerable sectors. In Africa, that must be achieved in a particularly adverse environment, where there is soil degradation, desertification and, as Mr. Morris said, recurring natural catastrophes, infections, violent conflicts, civil disturbances — the legacy and effects of which are passed from one generation to the next and are evident in matters as simple as the existence of explosives and landmines in agricultural fields — climate change and, no less important, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, which also undermine societies’ ability to produce.

In these circumstances, and given the cited combination of internal and external factors, the international community has a commitment. Mr. Morris pointed out that $1.8 billion is needed, which seems an extraordinary figure but which is not, if we compare it to today’s worldwide military expenditures, which are vastly greater than that figure.

Given all that, I would like to simply underscore Ambassador Greenstock’s question. From that point of view and taking all the factors into account, what would Mr. Morris say could be done right now by the Security Council, beyond what has already been established as an immediate task, in terms of donors and in terms of the attention that the Security Council should give this item? What does Mr. Morris think the Security Council should do together with other United Nations bodies to tackle a crisis of the magnitude and dimensions that he has described to us?

I now resume my functions as President of the Council.

I call on Mr. Morris.

Mr. Morris (Executive Director of the World Food Programme)

May I say that both rounds of questions have raised profound issues, and that it means a lot to the World Food Programme and our colleagues that Council members have all been so thoughtful about the work we are a part of. Clearly, I am unable to give Council members the answers they deserve this afternoon. As we did last time, we will respond in considerable detail in writing to all the questions; our responses will be available to everyone.

The representative of Bulgaria asked a question about Somalia. The situation in Somalia is very troubled. It is a very, very difficult place to work in, and it is a difficult place to assess the magnitude of the difficulty, given the conflict. We have been there for a long time. It is one of the places where we operate the United Nations humanitarian air service. Our programme this year is to feed nearly 3 million people in the country. We have had good success in the past raising nearly 75 per cent of the resources that we need to do our work there. It has been encouraging, in that it is one of the places where we have a very broad base of support. Nearly 20 countries help us in Somalia.

There was a question from the United Kingdom. May I first express our appreciation to one of Sir Jeremy’s colleagues, Anthony Beattie, who is our Executive Board President this year. He has extraordinary competence and effectiveness and is very bright. The question was about structural issues. Clearly, there are structural issues at every level. There are structural issues that affect the family farmer, that affect the marketing operation and that affect the system in which agriculture can survive and thrive. The representative of the United Kingdom raised the question about what the Security Council can do. It is much the same question as the President raised. First of all, I think what the Council can do is to help put the humanitarian issues — food is one of them, and there are many — at the centre of the world’s agenda. Humanitarian issues are security issues. If people are treated in a humane way and have the basic ingredients that lead to a life of hope, opportunity, fulfilment, the realization of potential and civil behaviour, I believe security issues will be mitigated or moderated. So what we are about has an enormous impact on families, on children and on other individuals, saving lives and propping up lives in such a way that people can begin to be productive citizens.

In terms of reducing conflict, what we do is very important. We need to think more about that. I am grateful that Council members are thinking about it; as they communicate with their capitals, this becomes part of the dialogue. Usually, we relate to the Ministry of Agriculture. That is very important. When we relate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance, we are more successful in having a stronger country partner.

On the issue of the politicization of food aid, I think, strong statements on that subject from the most important political body in the world, which this Security Council is, are very powerful and very important. People have to take what Council members say seriously. It is important to make the statement that it is the basic entitlement of a person to be fed if he or she is down and out — without a personal political agenda. There is no more important place in the world for that statement to be made than right here. Food, health and education are at the base of security and at the base of a good life for individuals. We will talk more about this, and we will give members the best answer of which we are capable. It will be a good exercise for my colleagues.

The representative of Spain asked a question about lessons learned. We have learned that we do indeed know how to distribute food. A couple of years ago in Ethiopia, before I was there, we did a terrific job in getting food distributed so that people did not die. We knew how to do that. We are learning how to use food as a tool for prevention and investment and development. We know how to do that. We know how important small neighbourhood groups are to getting the job done and how important remarkable community leaders are. We have also learned how difficult it is to make the case for non-food aid items. We have learned that comparable dollars invested in seed, fertilizer and farm implements in the long run have more of a pay-off than comparable dollars invested directly in food. For the life of me, I cannot see why it is so much more difficult to make that case. It is beyond me. But we do know that.

We have learned the value of early warning systems and of being well-informed. We know that the investments we make at the very beginning of a crisis — and the sooner we get there the better — are more powerful and have more leverage than what we do later on down the trail. We have a good paper on lessons learned, and we will share it with Council members.

A question was also asked about capacity-building policy. I suspect we have not seen ourselves as capacity-builders. In Afghanistan, we did provide food to pay the compensation of 150,000 schoolteachers. They had nothing else with which to pay them in Afghanistan. We have also used food to pay for rebuilding the bureaucracy in Afghanistan. There are other examples where we have done things like that, but we generally look to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide leadership in that sphere.

Here I must mention the issue of coordination and how we all work together. Rebuilding the capacity of education, agriculture and health in that part of the world is so critically important that we are all going to have to be a part of it.

The representative of France asked a question about coordination. I am not going to try to answer the question generally, but may I tell you that in Southern Africa the level of cooperation has been extraordinary. All of the United Nations agencies, plus the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the regional organization in Southern Africa, plus the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and non-governmental organizations, have come together into something called the United Nations Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Support Office (RIACSO). This is the regional coordinating arm of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UNDP, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), WFP, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); there are about 100 people working together to coordinate and cooperate on a regional basis. The response to the initiative in the six countries is that it works superbly well.

The Southern Africa crisis will be a food crisis for a few more months. I am hopeful that we will work our way out of the agricultural predicament. Going forward, there will be an enormous crisis in Southern Africa related to governance and related to HIV/AIDS. What form the lessons learned from RIACSO will take and how our work is re-formulated going forward are very important questions. Maybe, in part, this answers the question of the representative of Guinea.

The representative of the Syrian Arab Republic raised a question as it relates to Iraq, and a new role for WFP. May I express our gratitude to Syria and to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Both countries have made their own food reserves available to WFP to use in Iraq, where we can borrow from them as we need it, urgently and in a timely way. We will always repay them, but having the reserve right at hand has been a blessing to us.

The WFP, as I said, has been in Iraq for 12 years now. We have been a major implementer of the oil-for-food programme, directly implementing it in the north to about 4 million Kurds every day and helping to monitor it in the central and southern parts of the country. As we have been getting prepared for the conflict at hand, we have pre-positioned enough food in the countries on Iraq’s perimeter to feed up to 2 million people for 30 days. So we have essentially focused on refugees or internally displaced persons who would make their way to the perimeter. We are now looking at a six-month programme that, in the first month, would focus on refugees and internally displaced persons — somewhere between 2 million and 4 million people. We are looking at ensuring that food is available in the second, third and fourth months to feed the entire population of Iraq — 27 million people.

Iraq is interesting in that 60 per cent of its people rely entirely on the central Government for food, and 100 per cent of its people rely on the central Government for part of their food. The country has had a successful public distribution system, with 44,000 outlets distributing food proceeds from the oil-for-food programme. So we would look at helping to ensure that there was a steady pipeline of adequate food resources available to feed Iraq’s entire population for the second, third and fourth months. As the fifth and sixth months come along, we would assume that the oil-for-food programme would be fully back in place, administered by the Government of Iraq, and that our responsibility would be to continue to look after refugees, internally displaced persons and people who are very vulnerable. We feed about 700,000 people in Iraq who are very vulnerable, including those in orphanages, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

The World Food Programme is also the logistical arm of the United Nations. We run the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service, we manage the communication systems in Afghanistan — we went in with Ericsson and installed an entire communication system in Kabul — and we manage transportation, trucks and the fuel supply, among other things. As a part of the consolidated appeal process, in which the United Nations family came together to request $2.2 billion in the short term for humanitarian issues in Iraq, we have asked for $1.2 billion for food and $100 million for logistical activities.

Under resolution 1472 (2003), the oil-for-food resolution that the Security Council adopted a week ago Friday, the Council kindly gave us authority to have access to proceeds already encumbered through the oil-for-food programme as long as they were under transport within a period of 45 days. We have had only a short period of time in which to analyse the contracts, but our best estimate today is that $110 million of value will be available from the oil-for-food programme during that 45-day period to feed the people of Iraq. We are obviously very hopeful that the Council will find a way to extend the 45 days to a longer period of time and that it will address other footnote issues that are significant in terms of costs associated with transportation of those items.

That means we will need to ask the donors for at least $1.1 billion in help to fund the rest of the programme, and we are in the process of doing that now. We have had dozens of conversations with many Council member countries and with all of our donors, and those conversations are going very well, if I may say so. I suspect that we have more than half of what we will need under the current negotiations, and we have people in Rome — where we have our headquarters — and, in fact, all over the world working around the clock to put this package together.

The World Food Programme is a bit different in that sometimes it can take two, three or four months from the time a commitment is made until food is purchased, transported and delivered to someone. So timing is absolutely of the essence. But many countries have made generous commitments; we now have commitments from 11 countries. And I should say that commitments come from countries that have very different views of the conflict. One of our strengths has been that we keep a narrow focus on humanitarian issues. People may have one view or another of the conflict, but no one wants human beings to starve, especially very vulnerable people who are severely at risk. So countries that have different views of the conflict will be comfortable about helping us. Last week, we had a tremendous commitment from Germany to help. I had a wonderful two days in Berlin, and I am profoundly grateful for that.

My friend from Angola raised a question about the green revolution. I was saluting the Secretary-General for raising that issue and making that commitment. Worldwide, the trend is away from investment in basic agricultural infrastructure: in 1988, the world committed $14 billion to that programme; last year, it committed $8 billion. Now there is some good news: the United States and the United Kingdom have both begun to turn their investments around in this area. Last year, the United States committed $200 million more to investment in basic agricultural infrastructure than it had the year before. So the trend had been downward, but now there is a bit of hope that it is beginning to head in the other direction.

With regard to the question concerning Ethiopia, I am asked, “Jim, how can this happen again?” Well, our investments had been made in emergency relief as opposed to prevention and development, and I think we are beginning to learn that lesson. We are working closely with the FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and other organizations.

Concerning the question from the representative of China, we have had a relationship with China for 40 years, and it is an extraordinary success story. China is one of the great success stories in the world in terms of letting the market function; hundreds of millions of people there who were not fed years ago are now fed. The agencies of the United Nations do work well together; we cooperate on these issues, and the notion of capacity for self-reliance is basic.

Mr. President, when I tried to address the question of the representative of the United Kingdom, I tried to answer your question as well, but we will provide a thoughtful answer as to what the Council could do to help us and how we could work more closely together. I am grateful for the offer, and we will try to provide a good answer.

The President

I thank Mr. Morris for his comments and his responses to questions raised concerning the subject of this afternoon’s meeting. I should also like to thank him most especially for his willingness to respond to questions related to other items that were not on the agenda, in particular the situation in Iraq.

In that connection, various countries members of the Security Council have expressed interest in the possibility that, in the near future, the Council might be able to continue to engage in dialogue with Mr. Morris on the situation in Iraq and on the role that the World Food Programme will play. The presidency will consult with other Council members and with Mr. Morris to consider the possibility that, in the near future — before his return to the Programme’s headquarters in Rome — he could meet in consultations with the Council in that regard.

There are no further speakers on my list. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda.

The meeting rose at 5.10 p.m.
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