Agriculture not a priority at Paris climate talks?
PARIS, France – How come agriculture is not included in the current draft of the Paris climate agreement?
The room fell silent as the question was raised on the sidelines of the Paris climate talks. After a week of climate negotiations, agriculture failed to be included in the text despite its hefty role in food security.
Around 100 countries worldwide, however, mentioned agriculture in their climate action plans or the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defended.
The Philippines is one of the countries that briefly touched on agriculture in its INDCs, putting it in the context of disaster resilience.
But advocates are asking for the full inclusion of agriculture in the official climate agreement, with emphasis on the need to support small-scale farmers – producers of 80% of the world's food.
With only a few days left for the climate negotions to wrap up, the chances of agriculture getting into the text is now slim.
In next year's climate talks in Morocco, however, it would surely be on the table, assured FAO Deputy Director General Maria Helena Semedo.
Nearly 80% of the poor live in rural areas, shared Janos Pasztor, UN Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change.
These families depend on agriculture for their food and livelihood. With climate change already happening, their daily survival is put at risk. This is manifested in lower yields due to droughts, typhoons, rising temperatures, among several impacts of climate change.
Drought alone accounts for 20% of malnutrition globally. Crop yields may decrease by as much as 25% by 2050.
Aside from agriculture, Pasztor and Semedo suggested governments to invest on nutrition. Less than 1% of global investments go to nutrition; ironically, there are over 800 million people experiencing chronic hunger.
"We produce enough food. But why people are hungry? They don't have access to food," said Semedo, which is why social protection for the world's most vulnerable is vital. This includes the agricutural workers, the poor, indigenous peoples, the elderly, women and children.
Food insecurity is worsened by climate change, experts say.
In the Philippines, if a child is born during or in the aftermath of a typhoon, they are 15 times more vulnerable to dying just two years after the typhoon, the World Food Programme observed.
Meanwhile, food wastage is another problem. The world wastes 30% of its food. In fact, the total food wasted globally is the size of China, FAO said.
Imagine how many rumbling stomachs could have been silenced by such an amount.
In Paris, technical experts and advocates continue to huddle in hopes of answering some of the world's hunger and climate problems within the next few days.
Beyond the city of love, however, remains the harsh reality that mouths are going unfed for days on end. – Rappler.com