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ICIMOD, GRID-Arendal Analyze Food Security, Climate Challenges in Himalayas

icimod-grid14 August 2014: The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and GRID-Arendal have released a report detailing the food security and agricultural situation in the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH). The publication considers how food security is being affected by changing socioeconomic and environmental conditions in the region, including climate change and rising global food prices.

The report, titled 'The Last Straw: Food Security in the Hindu Kush Himalayas and the Additional Burden of Climate Change,' offers an overview of the vulnerabilities of mountain regions in general and the HKH region in particular. The onset of more extreme weather, such as droughts and floods, complicates the already harsh conditions of rough terrain, poor soils and short growing seasons in mountainous areas, according to the report.

In addition, the report emphasizes that mountain peoples, including in the HKH, are particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change due to "high levels of poverty and high proportions of undernourished people, high dependence on local agricultural productivity and depleted natural resources, vulnerable supply lines and complicated logistics to external markets and poor infrastructure." The report outlines the expected consequences of climate change in the HKH and the resulting changes in farming practices and demographics.

The authors point to the following actions as necessary for achieving food security: filling in knowledge gaps about food production systems; targeting and increasing involvement of younger generations in farming; supporting greater diversity in small-scale farming; developing more gender-sensitive farming approaches; strengthening education and building effective networks for knowledge sharing; integrating food security development goals in policies addressing climate change adaptation; and mainstreaming mountain-related issues into the current discussions on the Post-2015 process and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report was launched on 14 August 2014, during a seminar in Arendal, Norway, celebrating the 25th anniversary of GRID-Arendal, a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) collaborating center, and Arendalsuka (Arendal Week), which brings together Norwegian political, business and community leaders each year. [IISD RS Sources] [GRID-Arendal Publication Webpage]