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CLIMATE CHANGEAND FOOD SECURITY:A FRAMEWORK DOCUMENTFOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONSROME, 2008

Climate change and food security: a framework documentFOREWORDClimate change will affect all four dimensions of food security: food availability, foodaccessibility, food utilization and food systems stability. It will have an impact on humanhealth, livelihood assets, food production and distribution channels, as well as changingpurchasing power and market flows. Its impacts will be both short term, resulting from morefrequent and more intense extreme weather events, and long term, caused by changingtemperatures and precipitation patterns,People who are already vulnerable and food insecure are likely to be the first affected.Agriculture-based livelihood systems that are already vulnerable to food insecurity faceimmediate risk of increased crop failure, new patterns of pests and diseases, lack ofappropriate seeds and planting material, and loss of livestock. People living on the coasts andfloodplains and in mountains, drylands and the Arctic are most at risk.As an indirect effect, low-income people everywhere, but particularly in urban areas, willbe at risk of food insecurity owing to loss of assets and lack of adequate insurance coverage.This may also lead to shifting vulnerabilities in both developing and developed countries.Food systems will also be affected through possible internal and international migration,resource- based conflicts and civil unrest triggered by climate change and its impacts.Agriculture, forestry and fisheries will not only be affected by climate change, but alsocontribute to it through emitting greenhouse gases. They also hold part of the remedy,however; they can contribute to climate change mitigation through reducing greenhouse gasemissions by changing agricultural practices.At the same time, it is necessary to strengthen the resilience of rural people and to helpthem cope with this additional threat to food security. Particularly in the agriculture sector,climate change adaptation can go hand-in-hand with mitigation. Climate change adaptationand mitigation measures need to be integrated into the overall development approaches andagenda.This document provides background information on the interrelationship between climatechange and food security, and ways to deal with the new threat. It also shows theopportunities for the agriculture sector to adapt, as well as describing how it can contribute tomitigating the climate challenge.Wulf KillmannChairpersonInterdepartmental Working Groupon Climate Changeiii

Climate change and food security: a framework documentCONTENTSFOREWORDIII ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSIX SUMMARYXI ACRONYMSXIII INTRODUCTION1 1. DEFINING TERMS AND CONCEPTUALIZING RELATIONSHIPSFood systems and food securityFood securityFood systemFood chainClimate and climate changeClimate and its measurementClimate systemClimate variability and climate changeEffects of global warming on the climate systemAcclimatization, adaptation and mitigationClimate change and food securityAgriculture, climate and food securityFood security and climate change: a conceptual frameworkVulnerability to climate changeLivelihood vulnerability3 3 3 3 5 6 6 7 8 8 8 9 9 11 12 27 2. PROTECTING FOOD SECURITY THROUGH ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGEFAO’s strategic approachLiving with uncertainty and managing new risksImproving the quality of information and its usePromoting insurance schemes for climate change riskDeveloping national risk management policiesStrengthening resilience and managing changeAdjusting consumption and responding to new health risksIntensifying food and agricultural productionCreating an eco-friendly energy economyAdapting agriculture-based livelihood strategies31 31 32 34 39 40 41 41 42 46 54 3. PROTECTING FOOD SECURITY THROUGH MITIGATION OF CLIMATE CHANGEReducing emissionsReducing agricultural and forestry emissions of carbon dioxideReducing agricultural emissions of methane and nitrous oxideSequestering carbonReforestation and afforestationRehabilitating degraded grasslandsRehabilitating cultivated soilsPromoting conservation agriculture59 60 60 62 65 66 67 68 69 4. THE WAY FORWARDThe institutional setting for addressing food security and climate change linkagesThe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeThe United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, its Conference of theParties, the Kyoto Protocol and the Nairobi Worlk Programme71 71 71 71 v

Climate change and food security: a framework documentAgenda 21 and sustainable agriculture and rural developmentIntegrating adaptation and mitigationAccess to fundsThe UNFCCC Climate Change Funds and the Global Environment FacilityThe Clean Development MechanismOther funding sourcesFAO’s roleREFERENCES72 72 73 73 74 74 74 77 ANNEX I83 Essential Climate Variables for the Global Climate Observing System, the Global Ocean ObservingSystem and the Global Terrestrial Observing System83 ANNEX IIInternationally Agreed Climate and Climate Change terminology85 85 ANNEX IIIGlobal Warming and Climate ChangeClimate change, global environmental change and global changeGlobal warmingThe carbon and nitrogen cycles87 87 87 87 89 ANNEX IVRules and Conditions for the Clean Development Mechanism93 93 vi

Climate change and food security: a framework documentTABLESTable 1. Potential impacts of climate change on food systems and food security, and possibleadaptive responsesTable 2. Impacts of droughts on livestock numbers in selected African countries, 1981 to 1999Table 3. Employment in agriculture as share of total employment, by regionTable 4. Land required to replace 25 percent of current fuel demand for transport (45 EJ/year)Table 5. Distribution of global land area, 2004Table 6. Examples of livelihood groups at risk and adaptation responses for each of tenecosystems evaluated for the Millennium Ecosystem AssessmentTable 7. Global terrestrial carbon sequestration potentialTable 8. Agricultural practices for enhancing productivity and increasing the amountof carbon in soils1422284748556669FIGURESFigure 1. Conceptual framework of possible causes of low food consumption andpoor nutritional statusFigure 2. Food system activities and food security outcomesFigure 3. The formation of climateFigure 4. Global warming and changes in the climate system (FAO/NRCB)Figure 5. Climate change and food securityFigure 6. Steps for selecting adaptation optionsFigure 7. Steps for designing a strategy to implement the adaptation options selectedFigure 8. Methods and tools for assessing climate change impacts for different timeperiods and at various scalesFigure 9. Multistakeholder processes for mainstreaming climate change adaptation intosustainable development approachesFigure 10. Providing timely weather information for all actors in the food systemFigure 11. Benefits of improved climate information for reducing risk in AustraliaFigure 12. Shares of bioenergy in total energy supplyFigure 13. Shares of bioenergy in total primary energy supply in different regions in 2004Figure 14. Contributions of agricultural and forestry to greenhouse gas emissions4571013323333353738515260BOXESBox 1. Benefits of women’s participation in cyclone preparedness in BangladeshBox 2. Drought insurance in EthiopiaBox 3. Gorilla slaughter, conflict, deforestation and demand for charcoal in Rwandaand eastern DRCBox 4. Adaptation by small-scale tea farmers in South AfricaBox 5: UNFCCC funding for climate change adaptation and mitigation3640535773vii

Climate change and food security: a framework documentACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis publication was prepared by FAO’s Interdepartmental Working Group (IDWG) on ClimateChange, chaired by Wulf Killmann, Director, Forest Products and Industries Division. The workhas benefited from the active support of many members of the IDWG and other colleagues inFAO, including Pierre Gerber and Henning Steinfeld, Catherine Batello, Theodore Friedrich andNguyen Nguu. Kakoli Ghosh, Josef Schmidhuber, Ali Gurkan, Yianna Lambrou, Cassandra deYoung, Susan Braatz, Jim Carle, John Latham, Jacob Burke and Jippe Hoogeveen, IsabelAlvarez, Barbara Cooney and Karel Callens.Particular thanks go to Prabhu Pingali, Keith Wiebe and Monica Zurek, Jasmine Hymans andStephan Baas and Michele Bernardi. The document was prepared in close collaboration with theStockholm Environment Institute (SEI). The IDWG gratefully acknowledges the contributions ofTom Downing, Barbara Huddleston and Gina Ziervogel, Oxford Office, SEI, to itsconceptualization and writing; to Barbara Huddleston, Jane Shaw and Maria Guardia for itsediting and layout; and to Anna Maria Alba for her work on the graphics.The English version of the full document and brochure, and the language versions of thebrochure, are available at: www.fao.org/clim/index en.htm.ix

Climate change and food security: a framework documentSUMMARYUntil recently, most assessments of the impact of climate change on the food and agriculturesector have focused on the implications for production and global supply of food, with lessconsideration of other components of the food chain. This paper takes a broader view andexplores the multiple effects that global warming and climate change could have on foodsystems and food security. It also suggests strategies for mitigating and adapting to climatechange in several key policy domains of importance for food security.Defining terms and conceptualizing relationshipsFood security is the outcome of food system processes all along the food chain. Climatechange will affect food security through its impacts on all components of global, national andlocal food systems.Climate change is real, and its first impacts are already being felt. It will first affect thepeople and food systems that are already vulnerable, but over time the geographic distributionof risk and vulnerability is likely to shift. Certain livelihood groups need immediate support,but everbody is at risk.Managing riskRisk exists when there is uncertainty about the future outcomes of ongoing processes or aboutthe occurrence of future events. Adaptation is about reducing and responding to the risksclimate change poses to people’s lives and livelihoods.Reducing uncertainty by improving the information base, and devising innovative schemesfor insuring against climate change hazards will both be important for successful adaptation.Adaptive management can be a particularly valuable tool for devising strategies that respondto the unique risks to which different ecosystems and livelihood groups are exposed.Strengthening resilienceStrengthening resilience involves adopting practices that enable vulnerable people to protectexisting livelihood systems, diversify their sources of income, change their livelihoodstrategies or migrate, if this is the best option.Changing consumption patterns and food preparation practices may be sufficient to protectfood security in many circumstances. Both market forces and voluntary choices influenceindividual decisions about what food to eat and how to maintain good health under a changingclimate.Safeguarding food security in the face of climate change also implies avoiding thedisruptions or declines in global and local food supplies that could result from changes intemperature and precipitation regimes and new patterns of pests and diseases.Raised productivity from improved agricultural water management will be crucial toensuring global food supply and global food security. Sustainable livestock managementpractices for adaptation and associated mitigation should also be given high priority.Conservation agriculture can make a significant difference to efficiency of water use, soilquality, capacity to withstand extreme events, and carbon sequestration. Promotingagrobiodiversity is particularly important for local adaptation and resilience.Meeting the growing demand for energy is a prerequisite for continued growth anddevelopment. Bioenergy is likely to play an increasingly important role, but its use should notundermine food security.Mitigating climate changeMitigating climate change means reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering orstoring carbon in the short term, and of even greater importance making developmentxi

Climate change and food security: a framework documentchoices that will reduce risk by curbing emissions over the long term. Although the entirefood system is a source of greenhouse gas emissions, primary production is by far the mostimportant component. Incentives are needed to persuade crop and livestock producers, agroindustries and ecosystem managers to adopt good practices for mitigating climate change.The way forwardIn the food and agriculture sector, adaptation and mitigation often go hand in hand, soadopting an integrated strategic approach represents the best way forward.Several funds within the United Nations system finance specific activities aimed atreducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing resilience to the negative impacts ofclimate change. Because many mitigation actions that would have high payoffs also representgood options for adaptation within the food and agriculture sectors of low-income developingcountries, it may be possible to obtain additional resources from bilateral and multilateral aidagencies, which are becoming increasingly interested in investing development resources inadaptive responses to climate change.The ultimate goal of FAO’s climate change work is to inform and promote local dialogueabout what the impacts of climate change are likely to be and what options exist for reducingvulnerability, and to provide local communities with site-specific solutions.xii

Climate change and food security: a framework PFSSARDUnited Nations Convention on Biological Diversityclimate change and food securityClean Development Mechanismcertified emissions reductionCenter for International Earth Science Information NetworkCommonwealth of Independent Statescarbon dioxideConference of the PartiesDemocratic Republic of the Congoessential climate variableEnvironmental Protection Agency (United States)Comparative Agricultural Development Service (FAO)Earth System Science PartnershipEuropean Tropical Forestry Research NetworkEuropean UnionFood and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsFood Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping SystemFood Security Information and Early Warning SystemGlobal Climate Observing SystemGlobal Environmental Change and Food Systems (project)Global Environment Facilitygreenhouse gasGlobal Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity BuildingInternational Council for ScienceInterdepartmental Working GroupInternational Energy AgencyInternational Fund for Agricultural DevelopmentInternational Food Policy Research InstituteInternational Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent SocietiesInternational Geosphere-Biosphere ProgrammeInternational Human Dimensions Programme on Global EnvironmentalChangeInternational Labour OrganizationInternational Nitrogen InitiativeIntergovernmental Oceanographic CommissionIntergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeInternational Water Management Instituteleast-developed countryLeast Developed Countries Fund (UNFCCC)Millennium Development GoalNational Adaptation Programme of Action (UNFCCC)National Forest Programmenon-governmental organizationNational Programme for Food SecurityEnvironment, Climate Change and Bioenergy Division (FAO)Climate Change and Bioenergy Unit (FAO)Environmental Assessment and Management Unit (FAO)Nairobi Work Programme on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation toClimate ChangeRice Integrated Crop Management SystemsRegional Programme for Food Securitysustainable agriculture and rural developmentxiii

Climate change and food security: a framework CCUNFFUK DEFRAWCRPWFSWHOWMOWRIxivSubsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (UNFCCC)Special Climate Change Fund (UNFCCC)Stockholm Environment InstituteUnited NationsUnited Nations Conference on Environment and DevelopmentUnited Nations Development ProgrammeUnited Nations Department of Public InformationUnited Nations Environment ProgrammeUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural OrganizationUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate ChangeUnited Nations Forum on ForestsUnited Kingdom Department for Environment, Food and Rural AffairsWorld Climate Research ProgrammeWorld Food SummitWorld Health OrganizationWorld Meteorological OrganizationWorld Resources Institute

IntroductionINTRODUCTIONMean global temperatures have been increasing since about 1850, mainly owing to theaccumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The main causes are the burning offossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) to meet increasing energy demand, and the spread of intensiveagriculture to meet increasing food demand, which is often accompanied by deforestation.The process of global warming shows no signs of abating and is expected to bring about longterm changes in weather conditions.These changes will have serious impacts on the four dimensions of food security: foodavailability, food accessibility, food utilization and food system stability. Effects are alreadybeing felt in global food markets, and are likely to be particularly significant in specific rurallocations where crops fail and yields decline. Impacts will be felt in both rural and urbanlocations where supply chains are disrupted, market prices increase, assets and livelihoodopportunities are lost, purchasing power falls, human health is endangered, and affectedpeople are unable to cope.Until about 200 years ago, climate was a critical determinant for food security. Since theadvent of the industrial revolution, however, humanity’s ability to control the forces of natureand manage its own environment has grown enormously. As long as the economic returnsjustify the costs, people can now create artificial microclimates, breed plants and animals withdesired characteristics, enhance soil quality, and control the flow of water.Advances in storage, preservation and transport technologies have made food processingand packaging a new area of economic activity. This has allowed food distributors andretailers to develop long-distance marketing chains that move produce and packaged foodsthroughout the world at high speed and relatively low cost. Where supermarkets with a largevariety of standard-quality produce, available year-round, compete with small shops sellinghigh-quality but only seasonally available local produce, the supermarkets generally win out.1The consumer demand that has driven the commercialization and integration of the globalfood chain derives from the mass conversion of farmers into wage-earning workers andmiddle-level managers, which is another consequence of the industrial revolution. Today,food insecurity persists primarily in those parts of the world where industrial agriculture,long-distance marketing chains and diversified non-agricultural livelihood opportunities arenot economically significant.At the global level, therefore, food system performance today depends more on climatethan it did 200 years ago; the possible impacts of climate change on food security have tendedto be viewed with most concern in locations where rainfed agriculture is still the primarysource of food and income.However, this viewpoint is short-sighted. It does not take account of the other potentiallysignificant impacts that climate change could have on the global food system, and particularlyon market prices. These impacts include those on the water and energy used in foodprocessing, cold storage, transport and intensive production, and those on food itself,reflecting higher market values for land and water and, possibly, payments

Climate change and food security: a framework document iii FOREWORD Climate change will affect all four dimensions of food security: food availability, food accessibility, food utilization and food systems stability. It will have an impact on human health, livelihood assets, food production and distribution channels, as well as changing