Food security and climate change

The High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on Food Security and Nutrition provides policy-oriented analysis and advice to the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), the highest global intergovernmental body dealing with issues of food security and nutrition. The HLPE’s report on food security and climate change was published in June 2012.

The recommendations and report of the HLPE on food security and climate change will be discussed at the upcoming 39th meeting of the CFS which will held from 15th to 20th October 2012 in Rome. A decision will be taken on the matter.

Civil society organizations are calling for the CFS decision to:

1. Commit to urgently focus attention and resources on enabling adaptation by small-scale food producers, who feed a large part of the world’s population. Small-scale food producers dependent on weather for their livelihoods are on the frontlines of dangerous climate change, but have done little to cause the problem. Member states and international organizations must substantially increase investments in adaptation for food security. Developed countries should support country-led plans with resources that are new and additional to their ODA commitments. Approaches that reduce vulnerabilities, including strengthening social safety nets and developing mechanisms that ensure early action in slow onset crises are essential as well as scaling up community led, national and regional food reserves.

2. Commit to prioritize and scale up agroecological and organic agriculture approaches, in particular for small scale food producers, which increase the diversity and resilience of production systems, which is an essential step in adapting to climate change. Such approaches are necessary to buffer against climate change, as they increase soil health and productivity, and increase water-infiltration and water-holding capacity of soils. Support for such approaches should be scaled up considerably and promoted by Member States and international organizations with research, technical support, funding, capacity building and policy advice. Farmer-to-farmer networking is crucial for transfer of agroecological knowledge and support for networks must be increased. Agroecological approaches also are important to promote animal health, wellbeing and genetic diversity, while they contribute to building sustainable local food networks. Farmer-to-consumer networks such as community supported agriculture and local farmers’ markets will help ensure local distribution.

3. Ensure that all climate change-related activities respect the rights of indigenous peoples and the Right to Food. This will notably require: 1) Ex-ante assessments of the impacts on the Right to Food of all climate change-related policies, programs and strategies; 2) The full implementation of the FAO policy on Indigenous Peoples; 3) The full implementation of the Guidelines on Responsible Tenure Governance.

4. Commit to strengthen or set up multi-stakeholder fora at local, national and regional levels to ensure that local communities and the most vulnerable groups, notably small-scale food producers, indigenous people, landless rural people, women and women’s groups and those most affected by hunger, are fully involved in decision-making processes to design, implement, monitor and evaluate climate change adaptation and mitigation plans, policies and programs.

5. Recognize that diversity in crop and livestock genetic resources are essential for ongoing adaptation to climate change and call for their conservation, particularly in situ, to be redoubled, and support given to small-scale farmers' seed breeding and saving. Governments and international organizations must facilitate the broader access to, and use of, genetic resources so as to maximize their contribution to adaptation for small-scale food producers.

The HLPE report on food security and climate change is available at:

With best wishes,

Lim Li Ching
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
10400 Penang
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