Adopting sustainable food systems due to climate change – UPSC GS3

Context: COP27 in Egypt will have special focus on Sustainable Food Systems.
How are food systems and climate change related to each other?
  • Interrelation between climate and agriculture: The climate crisis impacts all parts of the global food system, from production to consumption. It destroys land and crops, kills livestock, depletes fisheries, and cuts off transport to markets. This impacts food production, availability, diversity, access, and safety.
  • At the same time, food systems impact the environment and are a driver of climate change.
  • Climate change & Hunger: Analysis by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) shows that a 2°C rise in average global temperature from pre-industrial levels will see a staggering 189 million additional people in the grip of hunger.
  • Climate change & Vulnerable communities: A vast majority of such communities, who rely on subsistence agriculture, fishing, and livestock, have to bear the impacts of climate change with limited means to adapt.
  • Climate change & Nutrition: As per the latest IPCC report, climate change threatens nutrition through multi-breadbasket failures.
Hence, climate change is inextricably linked to how we develop and implement our food system across the world.
Role of World Food Program (WFP):
  • The WFP is working with communities to adapt to the changing climate that threatens their ability to grow food, secure incomes, and withstand shocks. It has supported 39 governments, helping them realise their national climate ambitions.
  • In 2020, the WFP implemented climate risk management solutions in 28 countries, which are now better prepared for climate shocks and stresses and can recover faster.
  • In India, the WFP and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry are planning to develop a best practice model on adaptation and mitigation with potential support from the Adaptation Fund.
Key areas that we need to focus upon:
  • Creating resilient livelihoods and food security solutions by protecting and improving the livelihood of vulnerable communities.
  • Adaptation of climate-resilient food crops, such as millets, for nutritional security.
  • Enabling women’s control and ownership of production processes and assets and increased value addition and local solutions.
  • Promoting a resilient agriculture sector. This can be done by creating sustainable opportunities, access to finance, and innovation for small-holder farmers, with climate information and preparedness.
  • Building capacity and knowledge of civil society and governments for vulnerability analysis. This will increase food security by addressing the link between food security and climate risk.
  • Need to increase climate finance for adaptation. Multilateral development banks, other financial institutions, and the private sector need to explore innovative approaches for mobilizing finance for the adaptation fund.
  • Investment from governments and the private sector in supporting farmers while maintaining biodiversity, and offering attractive income and work environment to smallholders and youth.
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