Prices of food have soared to record levels in recent years. Combined with longer-term problems like rain and crop failure, the world continues to face a serious food crisis.
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How will climate change affect what we eat? Hunger is not and need never be inevitable. However climate change threatens to put back the fight to eradicate it by decades – and our global food system is woefully unprepared to cope with the challenge.
In the Pacific region, climate change could cause production of sweet potato in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to decline more than 50 per cent by 2050, and maize in Vanuatu and Timor Leste to decline by 6 - 14 per cent by 2050.
In the face of this challenge, a new report from Oxfam analyses how well the world’s food system is prepared for the impacts of climate change.
In it, ten key factors that influence a country’s ability to feed its people in a warming world are assessed – including the quality of weather monitoring systems, social safety nets, agricultural research and adaptation finance.
Climate change is already making it harder for millions to feed their families. We will not stand by and watch this happen.
When I get into my car, I step into a system designed to get me safely from A to B. It has seat belts, airbags, and an increasing number of electronic warning devices. The traffic system has rules – speed limits, highway codes, traffic lights, enforced by cameras and cops. In countries that have introduced such systems, the result is falling casualty rates, despite rising traffic volumes.
Bamako, Mali: Ahead of the Sahel Appeal to be launched by the United Nations on the 3rd February 2014 in Rome, 11 humanitarian agencies warn that northern Mali is set to face another serious food crisis unless funds are rapidly mobilised.
Where in the world are the best and worst places to eat?
Around the world, one in eight people go to bed hungry every night despite there being enough food for everyone. Overconsumption, misuse of resources and waste are common elements of a system that leaves hundreds of millions without enough to eat.
To better understand the challenges that people face getting enough of the right food, Oxfam has compiled a global snapshot of 125 countries indicating the best and worst places to eat. It is the first of its kind and reveals the different challenges that people face depending on where they live.
New Zealand is ranked 23rd in the world for having the most plentiful, nutritious, healthy and affordable diet, falling behind Sweden (4th), Australia (8th), the United Kingdom and the USA (21st) among others, according to a new food database by worldwide development organisation Oxfam.
We need a new approach to risk and poverty reduction.
Major external risks, such as climate change and food price volatility, are increasing faster than attempts to reduce them. Many risks are dumped on poor people, and women face an overwhelming burden.
In many places of recurrent crises, the response of governments and the international aid sector is not good enough. A new focus on building resilience offers real promise to allow the poorest women and men to thrive despite shocks, stresses, and uncertainty – but only if risk is more equally shared globally and across societies. This will require a major shift in development work, which for too long has avoided dealing with risk. More fundamentally, it will require challenging the inequality that exposes poor people to far more risk than the rich.
What's on your plate, worldwide
Futures prices for food staples rise by 50% as droughts hit harvests. The world is battling a record number of food-related emergencies and facing US$4.1bn funding shortfall. Millions of the world’s poorest people will face devastation from today’s rocketing food prices because the global food system is fatally flawed and policy-makers can’t find the courage to fix it. Policy-makers have taken cheap food for granted for nearly 30 years. Those days are gone.
Food prices are a matter of life and death to many in the developing world. Financial markets that should be helping food growers and processors to manage their risk and set prices have become a potential threat to global food security. Deregulated and secretive agricultural commodity derivatives markets have attracted huge sums of speculative money, and there is growing evidence that they deliver distorted and unpredictable food prices. Financial speculation can play an important role to help food producers and end users manage risks, but in light of the harm that excessive speculation may cause to millions, action is required now to address the problem. This briefing explains what has gone wrong with financial markets and what the United States, the European Union and other G20 members should do to fix them.