Undernourishment and climate change: a new signal

All - Sep 14 2018

On September 11, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released its 2018 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World and figures are not on track to reach Sustainable Development Goals 2 (Zero Hunger). For a third year in a row, the absolute number of undernourished people in the world increased to nearly 821 million in 2017 and its prevalence (PoU or percentage of population) rose for the second year to 10.9%. The most impacted area is Africa with 20,4% of undernourished people meaning that 1 out of 5 African people suffered chronic food deprivation.

According the EM-DAT disasters database, the number of extreme climate-related disasters (floods, droughts, storms, extreme temperatures) doubled since the early 1990s in low and middle-income countries that are already more agriculture-dependent and more subject to malnutrition. Consequently, the 2.5 billion people that directly depend on assets that are exposed to climate disasters (farmers, herders, fishers, forest-dependent communities) are increasingly jeopardized and climate change could exacerbate this trend. FAO advises a focus on the resilience of livelihoods, food systems and nutrition to climatic shocks and stresses in an adaptation point of view. It recommends scale-up and risk-sharing (insurance, policy…) actions in a multi-year perspective.     

Undernourishment, exposure to climate extremities and vulnerability in agriculture

This situation confirms the interdependency between different SDGs (Zero Hunger and Climate Actions) and the necessity to take a global approach to tackle these different topics. Adaptation can’t be the only solution because its cost will exponentially grow with temperature increase and can’t be sustainable in the long term. Without mitigation, hunger will still be there, jointly with migration flow.

NOTES: Low- and middle-income countries with high exposure are defined as exposed to climate extremes (heat, drought, floods and storms) for more than 66 percent of the time, i.e. more than three years in the period 2011–2016.

 

 

Emeric Nicolas, Head of Data Science Dpt. - Sources: Beyond Ratings, FAO

 

 

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