Sustainable livelihoods bring not only food security but dignity, for refugees – UN chief

19 September 2016 – Underscoring that millions of refugees around the world face food insecurity and the risk of malnutrition, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called today for stronger response to ensure that refugees are able to meet their food and nutrition needs.

“Food is a matter of life and death – especially for people on the run,” Mr. Ban said at a high-level event on enhancing self-reliance in food security and nutrition in protracted refugee situations.

“We have a moral obligation to help,” he emphasized.

Being held on the side-lines of the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, the high-level event is discussing the strengthening of of self-reliance in food security and nutrition to support greater dignity and protection of refugees.

Recalling the discussions at the Summit, Mr. Ban said that countries have agreed to more equitably share the responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees as well as to mobilize resources to cover humanitarian needs.

The Secretary-General also hailed the efforts of host communities in providing food and nutrition needs of refugees. He underscored that this solidarity not only saves lives but also benefits refugees and host communities in the long-term.

In his remarks, Mr. Ban also stressed the importance of ensuing sustainable livelihoods for refugees and for doing so, to ensure refuges are able to access land and financial services and have freedom of movement. “These are basic to earning a living,” he noted.

Noting that as long-term solutions are pursued, the UN chief said that it is also important that refugees are helped to take on greater responsibility for meeting their food and nutrition needs.

“This will help the system respond better – and, more importantly, it will contribute to dignity for refugees,” he said, adding: “I am confident that we can help refugees become more self-reliant. They are eager to use their energy to better their communities.”

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