Breakthrough climate agreement recognizes food security as a priority

FAO leader hails role of agriculture in national pledges, applauds the promise to scale up funding

12 December 2015, Rome - FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva has welcomed the approval of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, saying that "for the first time ever, food security features in a global climate change accord."  

The Agreement recognizes "the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the impacts of climate change".

It underlines the need to "increase the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience (...) in a manner that does not threaten food production." 

"This is a game changer for the 800 million people still suffering from chronic hunger and the 80 percent of the world's poor who live in rural areas and earn their income − and feed their families − via the agriculture sectors. By including food security, the international community fully acknowledges that urgent attention is needed to preserve the well-being and future of those who are on the front line of climate change threats," Graziano da Silva said.

"FAO commends this milestone decision to move forward on climate change action, which comes on the heels of the new Sustainable Development Agenda and its pledge to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2030. Central to our goal of achieving Zero Hunger, FAO strongly advocates for commitments to protect and enhance food security in a changing climate," he added. "Our message is simple: we will not reach Sustainable Development Goal 2 on ending hunger − and by extension the entire 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda − without ambitious action on climate change."

Fighting hunger and climate must go "hand-in-hand," he said. "FAO is highly encouraged by the fact that agriculture, forestry, fisheries and land use factor prominently in most of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) − the actions countries intend to take under the new Paris Agreement − and notes that this underscores the need for targeted investment in sustainable agriculture.

"In the contexts of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, parties shall prepare, communicate and maintain successive INDCs that they intend to achieve. Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) may prepare and communicate strategies, plans and actions for low greenhouse emissions development reflecting their special circumstances. Each party to the Agreement shall communicate a nationally determined contribution every five years.

"In this respect, FAO lauds the commitments made throughout the COP21 negotiations to support scaled up climate action in developing countries. Countries pledged additional resources to the Least Developed Countries Fund, Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund, among others.

"These resources are vital to supporting developing countries to implement their INDC contributions."

FAO at COP22

Building on the outcomes of the Paris Agreement, FAO is now working closely with the Government of Morocco to prepare for COP22 in Marrakesh in November 2016, with an eye to anchoring food security and agriculture even more prominently in global action plans and to ensure financial support for adaptation.

Photo: ©FAO/Daniel Hayduk
School children in Tanzania plant and care for trees as part of an FAO Climate-Smart Agriculture project.