By Vishal Gulati
Bonn, Nov 15 (IANS) Emissions from agriculture are set to increase in the future, further contributing to climate change, unless the world adopts sustainable, climate-smart ways of farming, FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva has warned.
“Climate change puts millions of people in a vicious cycle of food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty. Yet, we must confront the harsh reality: we are not doing enough to deal with this immense threat,” da Silva said on Tuesday at the ongoing UN Climate Change Conference or COP 23 here.
He stressed that least developed countries and small island developing states were “particularly vulnerable” to climate change.
“Noting that we should not be discouraged by the challenges ahead,” the Food and Agriculture Organisation Director General stressed that achieving zero hunger by 2030 was still possible.
“Agriculture is where the fight against hunger and climate change come together to unlock solutions.”
“It is not enough to only transform the way we produce food. Climate change mitigation and adaptation must be integrated into the entire food system: from production to transportation, from processing to food consumption, and in both rural and urban areas,” da Silva said.
Climate change, hunger and poverty can and must be tackled together.
The FAO recently announced that the number of undernourished people has increased for the first time again in a decade with 815 million people going hungry every day.
This spike is mainly due to conflict and economic downturns, but also the impact of climate change, particularly prolonged droughts in Africa.
Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change estimates show climate change might increase the risk of hunger and malnutrition by up to 20 per cent by 2050.
Da Silva pointed to the fundamental role of food systems and agriculture which are heavily affected by climate change, but at the same time were also major drivers of climate change.
Adopting climate-smart agricultural practices is the best option for sustainable agriculture.
At least one-fifth of total greenhouse gas emission can be attributed to the agriculture sectors, da Silva said.
Much more needs to be done to reduce these emissions and to simultaneously improve yields and build resilience, he said.
This means adopting approaches such as agroecology and sustainable food systems, climate-smart intensification, among others.
FAO’s work includes supporting countries in improving their agricultural sectors; in adapting and building resilience, and in mitigating global warming through agriculture.
It also assists countries monitor their Nationally Determined Contributions in terms of climate change and delivers the technical and financial support needed to turn these commitments into reality.
At COP23, the FAO launched a report, “Tracking Adaptation in Agricultural Sectors”, that provides a framework and methodology to support to track climate change adaptation measures in the agricultural sectors.
(Vishal Gulati is in Bonn at the invitation of the Global Editors Network to cover COP23. He can be contacted at [email protected])
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