FAO Reviews Risks and Responses to Climate Impacts on Food Security

fao_headquarters15 January 2016: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has released a paper reviewing the latest evidence on the impacts of climate change for food security and nutrition and options for response actions that enhance resilience of agricultural systems. The paper, titled 'Climate Change and Food Security: Risks and Responses,' concludes that reducing vulnerabilities should be a priority as poor vulnerable populations feel the worst impacts of climate change.

The report reviews evidence provided by the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and recent FAO research. It aims to raise awareness that climate change is already affecting food systems and seeks to inform discussions on how to prioritize and operationalize adaptation in agriculture.

The first section describes the cascading pathways through which the impacts of climate change on food security and nutrition unfold, including impacts on agro-ecosystems, economic and social consequences, and the role of vulnerabilities. The section concludes that poor and vulnerable populations will be most severely affected by reduced access to food and instability.

The second section discusses options and lessons learned regarding interventions to safeguard food security and good nutrition in the context of climate change, such as: increasing resilience of livelihoods; building resilience of food systems; managing genetic resources; investing in resilient agricultural development; assessing risks, vulnerabilities and adaptation options; and enabling adaptation through policies and institutions.

The report concludes that interventions should focus on reducing vulnerabilities. In order to be effective, FAO argues that such interventions require integrated strategies that are gender-sensitive, operate at multiple scales, cover multiple sectors and engage multiple stakeholders. Furthermore, FAO notes that such strategies should be based on assessment of risks and vulnerabilities, and include regular monitoring of progress. [Publication: Climate Change and Food Security: Risks and Responses] [FAO Climate Change Webpage]