IFPRI: Climate Change Threatening World Food System, 3bn People Cant Afford Healthy Diet

Jaime E. Love

Oluchi Chibuzor

The International Food Policy and Research Institute (IFPRI) Global Food Policy Report 2022, has warned that climate change is a growing threat to the world’s food systems, with grim implications for food and nutrition security, livelihoods, and overall well-being, especially for poor and vulnerable people around the world.

IFPRI stressed the need for urgent action on climate change both to achieve the major emissions reductions needed to limit global warming and to increase adaptive capacity and resilience of food systems is drawing global attention.

It advocated that for food systems policies that create better market incentives, strengthen regulation and institutions, and fund Research and Development (R&D) for climate-resilient technologies and practices are needed to catalyze and accelerate climate action.

The report is a peer review publication with the theme, “Climate Change and Food Systems,”

The Director General, IFPRI Global Director, Systems Transformation, Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR), Johan Swinnen, said that this year’s Global Food Policy Report on food systems transformation and climate change echoes the somber warning issued by recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports.

He noted that as the world continues to degrade the environment and, “push beyond our planetary boundaries, we are entering a Code Red for Humanity. Food systems are inseparably linked to this unprecedented crisis, which threatens the food security, nutrition, and health of billions of people.”

 “Our food systems are not only severely impacted by climate change, requiring an urgent focus on adaption, but also play a role in causing about one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, with two-thirds of that resulting from agriculture, forestry, and other land use. Investing in food systems transformation is a key piece of the climate change puzzle, yet it is vastly underfunded, with only a small part of climate finance directed toward this goal.

“The 2022 Global Food Policy Report highlights a range of evidence-based policies and innovations that should be prioritized and implemented now to tackle adaptation and mitigation in our food systems. Drawing on research from IFPRI and other CGIAR centers, it offers lessons that can help us better achieve food security, nutrition, and sustainability through climate-positive financing, innovation, and governance,” he stated.

According to the report, food systems contribute substantially to greenhouse gas emissions and must play a role in mitigation through changes in agricultural practices and land use, more efficient value chains, and reduced food loss and waste.

“Many promising innovations and policy approaches show potential to address climate change in food systems while also increasing productivity, improving diets, and advancing inclusion of vulnerable groups. These range from new crop varieties, clean energy sources, and digital technologies to trade reforms, landscape governance, and social protection programs. All of these will require substantial increases in funding for R&D and other investments in sustainable food systems transformation.

“Thus, beyond its direct impacts on production, climate change will create cascading effects on livelihoods and sustainability through interconnections among economic, environmental, social, and political spheres. Even in the absence of climate change, food systems face enormous challenges and demands. Hunger and malnutrition are rising, and over three billion people currently cannot afford a healthy diet.

“Food systems are the world’s largest employer but for many, particularly women, youth, and other vulnerable groups, agriculture-based livelihoods are precarious. In addition, food systems are major contributors to environmental degradation beyond GHG emissions, including deterioration of water resources and loss of habitat and biodiversity, which compromise environmental services that support food production,” the report noted.

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