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全球粮食安全与营养论坛 · FSN论坛

Re: Climate Change, Food Security and Nutrition

Santosh Kumar Mishra
Santosh Kumar MishraPopulation Education Resource Centre (PERC), Department of Continuing and Adult Education and Extension Work, S. N. D. T. Women's University, Mumbai, IndiaIndia

1)     What are the main issues for policy-makers to consider when linking climate change on the one hand and food security and nutrition on the other, in particular when designing, formulating and implementing policies and programmes?

1.1   Main issues for policy-makers while considering climate change: Environmental policies have sweeping implications for business, citizens and the environment. Building policy is a complex process and there are numerous opportunities for things to go well – or poorly. Societies have a long record of managing the impacts of weather- and climate-related events. Nevertheless, additional adaptation measures will be required to reduce the adverse impacts of projected climate change and variability, regardless of the scale of mitigation undertaken over the next two to three decades. Moreover, vulnerability to climate change can be exacerbated by other stresses. These arise from, for example, current climate hazards, poverty and unequal access to resources, food insecurity, trends in economic globalization, conflict and incidence of diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Further, some planned adaptation to climate change is already occurring on a limited basis. Adaptation can reduce vulnerability, especially when it is embedded within broader sectoral initiatives. There is high confidence that there are viable adaptation options that can be implemented in some sectors at low cost, and/or with high benefit-cost ratios. However, comprehensive estimates of global costs and benefits of adaptation are limited.

1.2   Main issues for policy-makers while considering food security and nutrition: Underlying the food and nutrition situation are multiple challenges in achieving sustainable food production. A rapidly growing population is increasing the demand for food. Climate change is adding to the challenge of achieving sustainable food production and meeting the demands of a growing population. Events related to climate change are likely to intensify in the coming years. There is no magic bullet that can eliminate hunger and under-nutrition, given the complex nature of these problems. There are many inter-related issues, some of which are related to poverty and lack of empowerment. These include gender issues, discrimination against ethnic groups, land use, rights and ownership, war, the HIV pandemic, and environmental issues. Food solutions need to be integrated and multifaceted. Efforts to realize the “right to adequate food” must go beyond improving the production and distribution of nutritious food. “Safety nets” should systematically include or be accompanied by measures to promote sustainable livelihoods for households with malnourished children. Adequate feeding and care should be an integral part of national strategies and programs to reduce hunger and under-nutrition. This includes promoting exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and appropriate complementary feeding, basic requirements for nutritional well being.

2)     What are the key institutional and governance challenges to the delivery of cross-sectoral and comprehensive policies that protect and promote nutrition of the most vulnerable, and contribute to sustainable and resilient food systems? Production systems and the policies and institutions that underpin global food security are increasingly inadequate. Sustainable agriculture must nurture healthy ecosystems and support the sustainable management of land, water and natural resources, while ensuring world food security. In order to be sustainable, agriculture must meet the needs of present and future generations for its products and services, while ensuring profitability, environmental health and social and economic equity. The global transition to sustainable food and agriculture will require major improvements in the efficiency of resource use, in environmental protection and in systems resilience. Sustainable agriculture requires a system of global governance that promotes food security concerns in trade regimes and trade policies, and revisits agricultural policies to promote local and regional agricultural markets.

The current trajectory of growth in agricultural production is unsustainable because of its negative impacts on natural resources and the environment. The overarching challenges being faced are the growing scarcity and fast degradation of natural resources, at a time when the demand for food, feed, fibre and goods and services from agriculture (including crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture) is increasing rapidly. Some of the highest population growth is predicted in areas which are dependent on agriculture and already have high rates of food insecurity. Additional factors - many interrelated - complicate the situation:

§  Competition over natural resources will continue to intensify. This may come from urban expansion, competition among various agricultural sectors, expansion of agriculture at the expense of forests, industrial use of water, or recreational use of land. In many places this is leading to exclusion of traditional users from access to resources and markets;

§  While agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, it is also a victim of its effects. Climate change reduces the resilience of production systems and contributes to natural resource degradation. Temperature increases, modified precipitation regimes and extreme weather events are expected to become significantly more severe in the future;

§  Increasing movement of people and goods, environmental changes, and changes in production practices give rise to new threats from diseases (such as highly pathogenic avian influenza) or invasive species (such as tephritid fruit flies), which can affect food safety, human health and the effectiveness and sustainability of production systems. Threats are compounded by inadequate policies and technical capacities, which can put whole food chains at risk; and

§  The policy agenda and mechanisms for production and resource conservation are mostly disjointed. There is no clear integrated management of ecosystems and/or landscapes.

The challenges outlined above give rise to five key principles for guiding the strategic development of new approaches and the transition to sustainability:

o   Principle 1: Improving efficiency in the use of resources is crucial to sustainable agriculture;

o   Principle 2: Sustainability requires direct action to conserve, protect and enhance natural resources;

o   Principle 3: Agriculture that fails to protect and improve rural livelihoods and social well-being is unsustainable;

o   Principle 4: Sustainable agriculture must enhance the resilience of people, communities and ecosystems, especially to climate change and market volatility; and

o   Principle 5: Good governance is essential for the sustainability of both the natural and human systems.

In order to cope with the rapid pace of change and increased uncertainty, sustainability must be seen as a process, rather than a singularly defined end point to be achieved. This, in turn, requires the development of technical, policy, governance and financing frameworks that support agricultural producers and resource managers engaged in a dynamic process of innovation. In particular:

§  Policies and institutions are needed that provide incentives for the adoption of sustainable practices, to impose regulations and costs for actions that deplete or degrade natural resources, and to facilitate access to the knowledge and resources required;

§  Sustainable agricultural practices must make full use of technology, research and development, though with much greater integration of local knowledge than in the past. This will require new and more robust partnerships between technical and investment-oriented organizations;

§  Evidence-based planning and management of the agricultural sectors requires suitable statistics, geospatial information and maps, qualitative information and knowledge. Analysis should focus on both production systems and the underlying natural and socio-economic resources; and

§  The challenges relating to stocks and utilization rates of natural resources often transcend national boundaries. International governance mechanisms and processes must support sustainable growth (and the equitable sharing of benefits) in all agriculture sectors, protecting natural resources and discouraging collateral damage.

3)     In your experience, what are key best-practices and lessons-learned in fostering cross-sectoral linkages to protect and improve nutrition while preventing, adapting to climate change and reducing and removing greenhouse gas emissions in projects?

1.1   Key Best-Practices in Improving Nutrition and Climate Change Adaptation: The agricultural sector both affects and is affected by climate change. While it contributes to mitigating it, agriculture affects climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from croplands and animals. It is affected by loss of agricultural land, salt water intrusion, changes in temperature and rainfall regimes and increasingly severe weather hazards. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in partnership with Procasur Africa, CARE  (relief agency) in Kenya and the Cgiar Research Program on Climate Change & Food Security (CCAFS), organized a learning route titled “Natural Resource Management and Climate Change Adaptation best practices: The Experience in Kenya,” that took place between the 7th and the 13th of July 2014. Seventeen participants from various IFAD-supported projects, implementing partners and civil society organizations in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Lesotho and Kenya all met together on an 8-day journey across the districts and rural communities of Kenya.

A Learning Route is an experience that transforms its participants, leading them to become agents of change in their own organizations. It is a capacity-building procedure with a proven track record of successfully combining local knowledge and experiences. The Learning Route is based on the idea that successful solutions to existing problems are already present within rural areas, and that those solutions might be adapted and spread to other contexts. This journey gets participants to understand these changes through peer learning, discussing directly with rural communities who are the promoters of the identified best practices and successful innovations (, accessed on March 31, 2015).

1.2   Lessons-Learned in Improving Nutrition and Climate Change Adaptation: Only by implementing real changes across the global food system will we be able to achieve food security and a stable climate for the long term. This will require a break from business as usual and a significant shared commitment by policy makers, investors, agricultural producers, consumers, food companies and researchers. Followings are lessons learned in improving nutrition and climate change adaptation initiatives:

§  Integrate food security and sustainable agriculture into global and national policies:

o   Establish a work program on mitigation and adaptation in agriculture in accordance with the principles and provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), based on Article 2, as a first step to inclusion of agriculture in the mainstream of international climate change policy.

o   Make sustainable, climate-friendly agriculture central to Green Growth44 and the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

o   Develop common platforms at global, regional and national levels for coherent dialogue and policy action related to climate change, agriculture, crisis response and food security, at global, regional and national levels. These include fostering country-level coalitions for food security and building resilience, particularly in countries most vulnerable to climate shocks.

§  Significantly raise the level of global investment in sustainable agriculture and food systems in the next decade:

o   Implement and strengthen the existing G8 L'Aquila programs and commitments to sustainable agriculture and food security, including long-term commitments for financial and technical assistance in food production and to empower smallholder farmers.

o   Adjust national research and development budgets, and build integrated scientific capacity, to reflect the significance of sustainable agriculture in economic growth, poverty reduction and long-term environmental sustainability, and focus on key food security issues (for example, developing nutritious non-grain crops and reducing post-harvest losses).

o   Increase knowledge of best practices and access to innovation by supporting revitalized extension services, technology transfer and communities of practice (for example, North-South, South-South, cross-commodity and farmer-to-farmer exchanges), with emphasis on low-to high-income countries and on women farmers.

§  Sustainably intensify agricultural production while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other negative environmental impacts of agriculture:

o   Develop, facilitate and reward multi-benefit farming systems that enable more productive and resilient livelihoods and ecosystems, with emphasis on closing yield gaps and improving nutrition.

o   Introduce strategies for minimizing ecosystem degradation and rehabilitating degraded environments, with emphasis on community-designed programs.

o   Empower marginalized food producers (particularly women) to increase productivity of a range of appropriate crops by strengthening land and water rights, increasing access to markets, finance and insurance, and enhancing local capacity (for example through farmer and community-based organizations).

o   Identify and modify subsidies (such as for water and electricity) that provide incentives for farmers to continue agricultural practices that deplete water supplies or destroy native ecosystems. Introduce compensation schemes that target the poor.

o   Couple economic incentives for sustainable intensification of agriculture with strengthening governance of land tenure and land zoning to prevent further loss of forests, wetlands and grasslands.

§  Develop specific programs and policies to assist populations and sectors that are most vulnerable to climate changes and food insecurity:

o   Develop funds that respond to climate shocks, such as 'index-linked funds ' that provide rapid relief when extreme weather events affect communities, through public-private partnerships based on agreed principles.

o   Moderate excessive food price fluctuations by sharing country information on production forecasts and stocks, strengthening market databases, promoting open and responsive trade systems, establishing early warning systems and allowing tax-free export and import for humanitarian assistance. This includes embedding safeguards related to import surges and trade distortions in trade agreements.

o   Create and support safety nets and other programs to help vulnerable populations in all countries become food secure (for example, cash and in-kind transfers, employment guarantee schemes, programs to build resilience, health and nutrition, delivery of education and seeds of quick growing foods in times of famine).

o   Establish robust emergency food reserves and financing capacity that can deliver rapid humanitarian responses to vulnerable populations threatened by food crises.

o   Create and support platforms for harmonizing and coordinating global donor programs, policies and activities, paying particular attention to systematically integrating climate change risk management, adaptation and mitigation co-benefits, and improved local nutritional outcomes.

§  Reshape food access and consumption patterns to ensure basic nutritional needs are met and to foster healthy and sustainable eating patterns worldwide:

o   Address chronic under-nutrition and hunger by harmonizing development policy and coordinating regional programs to improve livelihoods and access to services among food-insecure rural and urban communities.

o   Promote positive changes in the variety and quantity of diets through innovative education campaigns, which target young consumers especially, and through economic incentives that align the marketing practices of retailers and processors with public health and environmental goals.

o   Promote and support a coherent set of evidence-based sustainability metrics and standards to monitor and evaluate food security, nutrition and health, practices and technologies across supply chains, agricultural productivity and efficiency, resource use and environmental impacts, and food system costs and benefits. This should include providing consumers with clear labelling.

§  Reduce loss and waste in food systems, targeting infrastructure, farming practices, processing, distribution and household habits:

o   In all sustainable agriculture development programs, include research and investment components focusing on reducing waste, from production to consumption, by improving harvest and postharvest management and food storage and transport.

o   Develop integrated policies and programs that reduce waste in food supply chains, such as economic innovation to enable low-income producers to store food during periods of excess supply and obligations for distributors to separate and reduce food waste.

o   Promote dialogue and convene working partnerships across food supply chains to ensure that interventions to reduce waste are effective and efficient (for example, redirecting food waste to other purposes), and do not create perverse incentives.

§  Create comprehensive, shared, integrated information systems that encompass human and ecological dimensions:

o   Sustain and increase investment in regular monitoring, on the ground and by public domain remote sensing networks, to track changes in land use, food production, climate, the environment, human health and well-being worldwide.

o   Support improved transparency and access to information in global food markets and invest in interlinked information systems with common protocols that build on existing institutions.

o   Develop, validate and implement spatially explicit data and decision-support systems that integrate biophysical and socioeconomic information and that enable policy makers to navigate trade-offs among agricultural intensification, nutritional security and environmental consequences.