News

Panel on Food Security and Nutrition Release Report on Food Security and Climate Change

FAO4 July 2012: The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE), a panel of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), has released its third report, which focuses on food security and climate change.

The report builds on a mandate from October 2010 for the HLPE to prepare reports on climate change and food security, and social protection for food security. The report was designed to "review existing assessments and initiatives on the effects of climate change on food security and nutrition, with a focus on the most affected and vulnerable regions and populations and the interface between climate change and agricultural productivity, including the challenges and opportunities of adaptation and mitigation policies and actions."

The report notes that food security vulnerability begins with the biophysical impacts of climate change, and that effects range beyond temperature impacts on plants, to relationships with pests, and diseases. It advocates for a social vulnerability lens to food insecurity and climate change. It describes the likely disproportional impacts on Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, particular in dryland agriculture areas. The report calls for addressing adaptation in the broader context of building more resilient food systems, and the differing approaches required among sites. It provides examples of strategies for community-based adaptation.

The report also stresses that agriculture is a significant contributor to climate change and that low-carbon/climate smart agricultural practices should be pursued. It stresses that the HLPE will review the role of biofuels and their relation to food security in a 2013 study. As recommendations, it calls for: policies and programmes to integrate food security and climate change concerns; increasing resilience through activities including basing adaptation measures on assessments of risks and vulnerabilities, exchange of practices, weather forecasting tools, and increasing farmer access to financial services; developing low emission agricultural strategies that do not compromise food security by reducing land use change for agriculture, adopting practices to prevent loss of soil carbon, improving livestock and manure management, and supporting farmers to adopt technologies with multiple benefits; collecting information locally, sharing knowledge globally and refocusing research to address a more complex set of objectives; and facilitating participation of all stakeholders in decision making and implementation.

On recommendations for the CFS, the HLPE calls for: including climate change recommendations in the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition; encouraging more explicit recognition of food security in the UNFCCC; supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation in international trade negotiations; enhancing the role of civil society; and supporting the development of a collection sharing mechanism on international data gathering for climate change and food security. [Publication: Food Security and Climate Change]