Hunger, poverty and climate change must be addressed together
World Food Day Sustainable agriculture and rural development are key to tackling the climate change threats to our food system and which disrupt the livelihoods of millions of rural households.
Just as the historic Paris Agreement comes into force at a surprisingly rapid pace, we must use this political momentum to reach the ambitions of the climate change accord. The international community must move from commitment to action.
On 14 October the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will celebrate its annual World Food Day by focusing on climate change.
One of the biggest issues related to climate change is food security
Climate change impacts everyone –with more frequent and intense droughts, storms, floods to record-high temperatures and rising sea levels. The world’s poorest are hardest hit – 70 per cent of them are farmers, fishers and pastoralists and rely on agriculture and natural resources to earn a living and feed their families.
Unless we face the threat with actions now, we risk slowing – and reversing - progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of ending hunger and poverty by 2030.
About 25 per cent of the economic impacts from climate change disasters in developing countries are borne by the crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors. Against this backdrop, some 800 million people – mostly rural poor - still suffer from hunger.
We need to tackle climate change challenges by addressing food and agriculture issues
Agricultural production will have to increase by about 60 per cent by 2050 to feed a growing population. At the same time, climate change is expected to reduce yields of key staple crops and leading to declining global water supplies and soil degradation.
We must transition to more productive, resilient and sustainable forms of agriculture to achieve the transformative change we so urgently need.
The agricultural sectors feature in 90 per cent of national climate pledges for developing countries. A majority of countries are putting strong emphasis on the agriculture sectors in their intended national contributions to adaptation and mitigation.
Now countries must ensure they address food and agriculture in their climate action plans and scale-up investments in rural development. At the same time, the international community must also support least advanced countries to adapt to climate change. By strengthening the resilience of smallholder farmers, we can guarantee food security for the planet’s increasingly hungry global population and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Next month world leaders will meet in Morocco at the next global climate change meeting, COP22. It will be an opportunity for countries to get traction to the Paris Agreement. Climate is changing – food and agriculture must too.