Climate change debates central to combatting hunger

Failure to include food security in climate change debates could threaten progress made in combatting world hunger, top UN officials have warned. Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation José Graziano da Silva and French Minister for Agriculture Stéphane Le Foll were speaking at the Committee on World Food Security in Rome.

Targeted policies and investments in food security and agriculture should be at the centre of debates on climate change, according to top UN officials.

Speaking at the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), Director General of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) José Graziano da Silva and French Minister for Agriculture, Stéphane Le Foll, warned that failure to do so would unravel recent progress made in combating world hunger.

They urged countries to reach an agreement on how to combat climate change ahead of the upcoming UN conference in Paris, known as COP 21.

The FAO Director General underlined the international community’s recent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes the eradication of hunger and extreme poverty. He said that these goals could only be met with agriculture and food systems that are more productive and adapted to climate change.

“We can end extreme poverty and hunger by 2030,” commented Mr. Da Silva. “We know what works and we have the tools for it, but we know climate change threatens to derail our efforts. It is already impacting on food security and making hunger eradication even more difficult.

“We believe that agriculture in the broad sense – including forestry, fisheries and aquaculture – can and must play a central role in addressing climate change, particularly in adapting its impacts, such as water scarcity, soil salinity or increasing pests and diseases of plants and animals.”

Echoing these comments, Mr. Le Foll warned that everyone on the planet would bear the consequences “if the world’s leaders cannot find agreement on tangible and concrete objectives” to curb global warming.

They called for policies and investments to adapt agriculture to climate change, including reducing deforestation and overfishing, improving soil fertility and achieving lower emissions.

Photo credit: Joseph King/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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