Food Security In Pacific Islands At Risk From Climate Change-Related Disasters – UN Report
New York, Dec 2 2008 11:10AM
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today that climate change-related disasters such as
cyclones, flash floods and droughts are likely to have a serious impact on food production in Pacific island nations,
and called for urgent measures to adapt to expected losses.
A new report, Climate Change and Food Security in Pacific Island Countries, notes that development efforts in the
islands have been seriously constrained by such disasters.
As a result, these countries appear to be in a “constant mode of recovery,” according to the report, published jointly
by FAO, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the University of the South Pacific.
“Climate projections for the Pacific island countries are bleak and indicate reduced food security, especially for
households,” <"http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/8658/icode/">said Alexander Müller, FAO Assistant Director-General, Natural
Resources Management and Environment Department.
“It is critical to build resilience of food systems to avoid enormous future economic losses in agriculture, fisheries
and forestry. Countries will have to assess how vulnerable their food systems are and how they can adapt agriculture,
forestry and fisheries to future climate-related disasters. There is a need to act urgently,” he added.
While Pacific island countries have already committed to a number of global and regional agreements to tackle climate
change, the report highlights the need for a more systematic approach, with national plans involving governments, the
private sector and civil society.
“Integrating climate change adaptation into national policies, strategies, programmes and budgets related to
agriculture, forestry and fisheries should become a major priority,” noted Mr. Müller.
In particular, countries must review their development policies in these fields in light of new information on climate
In addition, farmers should receive the best available information and guidelines on the choice of crop varieties, soil
and water management options under changed environmental conditions to avert the risk of crop failures.
“Nations that have pushed for monoculture crop production for foreign markets will need to assess their food security
potential,” states the report. “It is well established that diversified agricultural systems will fare better under
climate change scenarios.”