Protection of civilians in armed conflict - Report of the Secretary-General (S/2023/345) [EN/AR/RU/ZH]


 UN Document 


I. Introduction

  1. The present report is submitted pursuant to the request in the statement by the President of the Security Council of 21 September 2018 (S/PRST/2018/18). It also responds to the Council’s requests for reporting on specific themes in resolutions 2286 (2016)2417 (2018)2474 (2019)2475 (2019) and 2573 (2021).

  2. With over 100 armed conflicts worldwide and an average conflict duration of more than 30 years, civilians have continued to endure profound and lasting hardship. In 2022, as in previous years, armed conflict led to death, injury, enforced disappearance, torture, rape and other suffering and loss. The destruction of critical infrastructure had far-reaching consequences, including disruptions to electricity, health care, water and sanitation services, and deprived many of the essentials to live. Health-care personnel and facilities were targeted, leaving thousands without care. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas had devastating effects well beyond their intended targets. The rise in prices of food, fuel and fertilizers, combined with the effects of climate change, further intensified civilians’ needs. The number of people forcibly displaced reached new highs. Humanitarian organizations faced a variety of obstacles in their efforts to alleviate suffering, including violence, bureaucratic impediments and shortages of vital supplies such as food and medicine. Section II of the present report provides an assessment of the state of the protection of civilians in 2022.

  3. Four years after the adoption by the Security Council of resolution 2417 (2018), armed conflict continued to be a primary driver of hunger. Valuable farming equipment was stolen, agricultural land was littered with explosive ordnance, and livestock and crops were destroyed. Conflict also disrupted agriculture and trade, leading to a shortage of basic supplies and agricultural products. This, coupled with additional factors such as the armed conflict in Ukraine, led to higher food prices and reduced access to necessary supplies for food preparation and distribution. Furthermore, the destruction of vital infrastructure, shortages of electricity and fuel, and extreme weather events all contributed to the scarcity of water. In section III of 2/18 23-08488 the present report, the impact of armed conflict on the availability of food and water is examined.