Climate change is a big threat to food security: UN

The United Nations has warned that climate change poses a serious and distinct threat to food security and could subject an additional 600 million people to malnutrition by 2080.

“Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather, rising temperatures and sea levels, as well as floods and droughts have a significant impact on the right to food,” said Hilal Elver, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, in a news release.

“All these climate incidents will negatively impact on crops, livestock, fisheries, aquaculture and on people’s livelihoods,” she said, saying that responding to climate change with large-scale production oriented agricultural models is not the correct solution to the serious issue.

Ms. Elver suggests that there is a major need for a shift from industrial agriculture to transformative systems that support the local food movement, like agro-ecology. Agro-ecology has the added benefit of protecting small holder farmers, respecting human rights, food democracy and cultural traditions.

She contends that that this is a plan that will maintain environmental sustainable while at the same time facilitating a healthy diet.

““Those who have contributed the least to global warming are the ones set to suffer the most from its harmful effects,” she stressed. “Urgent action is needed to respond to the challenges posed by climate change, but mitigation and adaptation policies should respect the right to food as well as other fundamental human rights.”

These recommendations were made by Ms. Elver in advance of the UN climate change conference, COP 21, which will take place in Paris from November 30th to December 11th. The conference aims to come to a universally applicable legal instrument that can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Civil society pressure is mounting on the parties of the UNFCCC to achieve results in Paris by adopting a human rights approach to the climate change agreement that will respect, protect and fulfil human rights of all persons, and especially those most vulnerable. Any agreement must include a clear commitment by all relevant parties to ensuring climate justice and food security for all,” the Special Rapporteur said.

“As jointly stated by all special procedure mandate holders on World Environment Day in June, Governments should make sure that human rights are at the core of climate change governance,” Ms. Elver said.

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