Protecting Climate and Achieving Food Security

UN Climate Change News, 16 June 2021 – Against the backdrop of growing food insecurity resulting from climate change, experts have been working to identify ways to achieve more sustainable land and water management at the ongoing virtual May-June UN Climate Conference.

Such solutions range from land recovery using agro-forestry and introducing nitrogen-fixing crop species, to integrated watershed management that considers traditional and indigenous knowledge.

The impacts of a warming climate such as catastrophic floods and droughts are increasingly threatening the stability of the world’s food production systems. This calls for urgent near-term action to address both emission reductions and adaptation to climate impacts.

According to the 2019 IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land, the stability of food supply is projected to decrease, severely affecting the most vulnerable.

At the same time, climate action can increase agricultural sustainability and bring socio-economic and development co-benefits that contribute to poverty eradication and more resilient livelihoods for vulnerable populations.

Implementing sustainable agricultural practices to achieve food security in the context of climate change is a major topic in the UN Climate Change process. Since 2018, countries, experts and interested stakeholders have come together to discuss opportunities in six agreed technical agricultural areas, ranging from

the role of soils and nutrients, to more effective livestock management systems and assessing action to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

At a workshop during the May-June UN Climate Conference, countries and experts discussed how to achieve more sustainable land and water management.

They identified actions for integrated watershed management that considers not only scientific knowledge, but also traditional and indigenous knowledge, and ways to involve and protect the livelihoods of farmers, local communities, youth and indigenous peoples, while ensuring gender equality.

A leading example is an Adaptation Fund project in Colombia and Ecuador, in which communities selected a portfolio of feasible concrete adaptation activities through a Context-specific Community-based Participatory Planning process. Other examples included an early warning system specifically tailored to indigenous communities; water management measures according to community-based adaptation plans; and land recovery using agro-forestry and nitrogen-fixing crop species.

Participants at the workshop emphasized that future work on agriculture under the UNFCCC should be directed towards implementation of sustainable agriculture to achieve food security. Mr. Ayman Amin, a delegate from Egypt, said: “Although it is true that FAO and other institutions are closer to farmers than UN Climate Change, agriculture and food security should still be included in the UNFCCC process, especially to provide guidance to other institutions”.

The upcoming UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow in November will provide countries with a critical opportunity to consolidate their work to support farmers worldwide in implementing sustainable agricultural practices.

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