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FAO Urges Urgent Action to Address Climate Change Impacts on Agrifood Systems

FAO calls for immediate action to revamp agrifood systems in response to climate change indicators outlined in the latest UN State of the Global Climate Report.

Saurabh Shukla
FAO Urges Urgent Action to Address Climate Change Impacts on Agrifood Systems (Photo Source: Pexels)
FAO Urges Urgent Action to Address Climate Change Impacts on Agrifood Systems (Photo Source: Pexels)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) highlights the urgent need to modernize agrifood systems to successfully tackle climate change in response to the most recent UN State of the Global Climate Report. The report, led by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in collaboration with FAO and other UN agencies, highlights alarming climate change indicators, including record-breaking surface temperatures and greenhouse gas levels in 2023. These findings underscore the escalating impact of extreme weather events on food security and agriculture, with profound socio-economic consequences.

Kaveh Zahedi, Director of the FAO Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Environment, stresses the urgency of reversing the trend of runaway climate change. Zahedi emphasizes the necessity for significant investments in solutions to enhance resilience, reduce emissions, and safeguard lives and livelihoods, with agriculture and food systems offering abundant and impactful opportunities.

The report reveals the devastating effects of heatwaves, floods, droughts, wildfires, and intensifying tropical cyclones in 2023, causing widespread disruption and billions of dollars in economic losses. FAO's Climate Risks team contributes to the report, highlighting concerns about food security, population displacement, and vulnerabilities exacerbated by extreme weather events.

Acute food insecurity has more than doubled since the pre-COVID-19 era, driven by various factors such as conflicts, economic downturns, high food prices, and climate-related impacts. Regional examples illustrate the challenges faced, including severe flooding in southern Africa, prolonged flooding in South Sudan, and meteorological drought in Indonesia, leading to crop failures and economic losses.

Drought emerges as a significant threat to the agricultural sector, underscoring the urgent need for coordinated efforts to address climate change impacts and enhance resilience in vulnerable communities globally.

FAO is actively implementing recommendations outlined in the report to enhance climate resilience and adaptation in the agrifood sector. The FAO Strategy on Climate Change and its Action Plan take a comprehensive approach, integrating various sectors such as crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture. It emphasizes the roles of women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples in driving change and assists countries in aligning agrifood systems with national climate commitments and policies.

As a delivery partner for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), FAO supports countries in realizing their climate objectives and addressing challenges at the nexus of agrifood systems and the environment. Initiatives like SAGA and SCALA focus on implementing climate solutions in vulnerable regions, while early warning systems help anticipate and respond to threats posed by extreme weather events.

The recent Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and UNFCCC COP28 outcomes highlight the importance of agrifood systems in addressing environmental, biodiversity, and food security challenges. Zahedi calls for a coherent approach across Rio Conventions to advocate for solutions within agrifood systems that simultaneously address these pressing global challenges.

FAO's comprehensive approach and collaborative efforts with international partners are crucial in addressing the complex challenges posed by climate change and safeguarding global food security and sustainability.

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