- Special Pages
From left: Sven Harmeling, Team Leader, International Climate Policy at Germanwatch, Christoph Bals, Policy Director at Germanwatch, and Dr Saleeul Haq, Director of ICCCAD, Bangladesh, at a briefing on Global Climate Risk Index 2013 at the QNCC yesterday. Salim Matramkot
BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: The Doha Climate Change Conference yesterday called for urgent action to ensure agricultural sustainability and food security in countries most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
“Around 870 million people around the world experience hunger and although the number has gone down, the Sub-Saharan Africa which is very much vulnerable to the impact of climate change is an exception. Action is needed now,” said Alexander Mueller, Assistant Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
With agricultural sector as the main source of livelihood and driver of economy in Sub-Saharan Africa and as population swells threatening further rise in hunger rates, the issue of food security and agricultural sustainability becomes even more crucial.
Asia, which is highest in hunger rates around the world should also be taken into account, he added, speaking at the conference side event on ‘Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change’.
The panel believed achieving food security and combating climate change are closely linked and that through climate-smart approaches on agriculture, increase in agricultural productivity and farmers’ income can be attained; resilience of ecosystems and livelihoods strengthened and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduced.
Adaptation must be addressed across all sectors including agriculture, forestry and fisheries, he added.
Agnes Otzelberger, Climate Change Adaptation and Global Gender Advisor, Poverty Environment and Climate Change Network, CARE International, stressed on the importance of making climate information available and accessible to the poorest and vulnerable populations.
Otzelberger said the cost of providing climate information remains a challenge to many including farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa who will be hit first by the impact of climate change.
She reminded everyone focus should not be only on working on strategies to increase food production through climate-smart practices and technology but ensuring food access to the hungry.
James Kinyangi, CCAFS Regional Programme Leader, East Africa, ILRI, said achieving the goals on food security and agricultural sustainability in relation to climate change challenge is a long and uncertain road.
He said the poor and vulnerable, women, children and the landless who are at the core of the matter should benefit from all these efforts.
Also in the panel were Austin Tibu, Senior Conservation Officer, Department of Land Resources Conservation, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation Development, Malawi and Damdin Dagvadorj, Special Envoy on Climate Change, Ministry of Environment and Green Development, Mongolia. A Knowledge Event on ‘Climate-Smart Approaches to Agriculture’ would be organised by FAO on Saturday, 3.30pm at Crowne Plaza Business Park.