Climate change hits poor and hungry people the hardest – FAO

FAODr José Graziano Da Silva, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has appealed to world leaders to show courage and resilience by opting for changes that promote a safer, fairer and more inclusive world.

Dr Graziano da Silva made the appeal in Paris at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP21), which was made available to the Ghana News Agency by Peter Mayer of the FAO Media Relations.

“There will be no peace without sustainable development and there will never be sustainable development while people continue to be left behind and while people are suffering from extreme poverty and hunger.

“We must demonstrate that we are not afraid of promoting the changes needed to achieve this,” he said.

The COP21 High Level Meeting on climate resilience and adaptation included the launch of the UN Secretary-General’s new: Initiative on Resilience: Anticipate, Absorb, Reshape (A2R) aimed at boosting countries’ disaster risk reduction efforts.

“Climate change affects all of us, but especially the poorest and hungry people,” Dr Graziano da Silva said, underscoring how smallholder and family farmers are in the front line.

He said the most vulnerable must be helped to adapt to climate change,” adding that “in relation to the agricultural sectors, this requires environmentally sound initiatives that must go hand-in-hand with mitigating climate change impacts.

“Droughts, floods, storms and other disasters triggered by climate change have risen in frequency and severity over the last three decades.

He quoted a recent FAO study that shows that in developing countries, some 25 per cent of the negative economic impact of these disasters is borne by the crop, livestock, fisheries and forestry sectors alone.

“The A2R initiative will accelerate efforts to enhance climate resilience of the most vulnerable by 2020,” Dr Graziano da Silva said.

He said “FAO is working closely with the other Rome-based UN agencies, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) on a common strategy to build resilience by acting before, during and after crises.”

“The strategy aims to strengthen the capacities of countries to anticipate and absorb shocks and crises. At the same time it helps countries to sustainably transform the food, agriculture and livelihoods systems that are most at risk,” he added.

The FAO Director-General noted how this has already been put in place in Guatemala, Kenya and Niger “with very promising results,” and that it is linked to FAO’s Relief, Recovery and Resilience Approach, which FAO has been successfully implementing in countries such as the Philippines and Vanuatu.

“FAO welcomes the opportunity to co-host the A2R secretariat together with IFAD, WFP and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),” Dr Graziano da Silva said.

He observed that achieving resilience at scale relies on partnerships across sectors, and invited other agencies and organizations to join in the effort.

Source: GNA

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