Climate Change and the Right to Food: A Comprehensive Study

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More than a billion people are suffering from severe hunger worldwide, threequarters of them live in rural areas and depend directly on agriculture for their food. Political mismanagement and political failures have contributed to this tragic situation. The current hunger crisis is aggravated further by climate change and the economic crisis. Both hit the poorest of the poor the hardest.

Climate change is predicted to affect agricultural production and food security in developing countries by far the most. Small farmers, rural workers, and other people who are already vulnerable and experiencing food insecurity are likely to be the first and worst affected. They are confronted with the immediate risk of increased crop failure, a lack of appropriate seeds and planting materials, and loss of livestock. It is clear that the current system of agricultural production is not able to feed the world of tomorrow.

Without comprehensive and far-reaching adaptation strategies, climatechange will severely endanger the human right to food in developing countries. It is not only shrinking productive farmlands, decreasing soil fertility, less water availability, and increasingly precarious and extreme climatic conditions that pose new threats to world food security. Adaptation and mitigation strategies of industrialized countries that do not put the needs of vulnerable people first also greatly affect food security in developing countries. Biofuel production intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as export-related food production will compete with food production at the local and domestic market levels.

International measures to combat climate change should avoid negativelyaffecting those who are already vulnerable. An international climate changeregime has to put the particular needs of the poor first. The human rightsapproach provides a comprehensive set of instruments and criteria. This is why the Heinrich Böll Stiftung tries its best to bring together the human rights and climate change agenda.


Product details
Date of Publication
December 2009
Heinrich Böll Stiftung
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