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Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly.

People are experiencing the significant impacts of climate change, which include changing weather patterns, rising sea levels and more extreme weather events. The greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are driving climate change and continue to rise. Poorest people are most affected by climate change.

Temperature rises, changing rainfall patterns and extreme weather events pose a real threat to global food production, but agriculture has a major role to play in responding to climate change. Investments in all sectors of agriculture can simultaneously support climate change adaptation and mitigation while improving rural people’s livelihoods.

Adaptation to climate change is information-intensive as farmers, herders, fishers and foresters need the ability to understand local climate impacts and vulnerability, which determine planting cycles and other management interventions.

FAO is supporting countries by providing technical capacity development, guidance, data and tools for improved decision-making and the implementation of more climate-smart agricultural practices and policies. Its assistance focuses on integrated approaches to agricultural development as well as through the design of National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and other climate actions that countries have publicly pledged to achieve, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

Facts and figures

  • Without mitigation or adaptation measures, agricultural production may fall by as much as 2 percent each decade by the end of this century as a consequence of rising temperatures.
  • About 20-30 percent of species are likely to be at an increasingly high risk of extinction once global mean temperature exceeds pre-industrial levels by two or three degrees centigrade.
  • Agriculture and deforestation account for about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.
  • Efficient soils provide the largest store of terrestrial carbon; their preservation or increase could contribute to climate change mitigation.
  • From farming to forestry and fisheries, agriculture greenhouse emissions have nearly doubled over the past 50 years and may increase by another 30 percent by 2050.
  • Forests currently retain as much carbon as in the whole atmosphere. Conserving and enhancing forests is one of the best measures to address climate change.
  • Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased by almost 50 per cent since 1990.
  • Emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades.
  • The world’s oceans will warm and ice melt will continue. Average sea level rise is predicted as 24 – 30cm by 2065 and 40-63cm by 2100.

SDG13 Targets

  1. Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
  2. Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
  3. Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

a. Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible

b. Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities.

* Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.

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