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FAO Report Highlights Concern Over ‘Slow-Onset’ Climate Change Effects On Food Security

“Slow-onset” climate changes could have a bigger impact in developing countries in the future, including “potentially catastrophic” effects on food production, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Thursday in a report (.pdf) for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, The Hindu reports (Parsai, 4/1).

“In its submission, FAO outlines steps that governments could consider in climate change negotiations to ensure that food security is not threatened. The agency recommends that food security be used as an indicator of vulnerability to climate change, saying that agriculture systems and the ecosystems it depends on are highly sensitive to climate variability and climate change,” U.N. News Centre writes.

“Coping with long-term changes after the fact doesn’t make much sense. We must already today support agriculture in the developing world to become more resilient,” said Alexander Muller, FAO assistant-director-general for natural resources. Without addressing the ‘slow-onset’ effects of climate change, there could be “potentially disastrous impacts on food security during the period from 2050 to 2100,” according to Muller (3/31).

An FAO press release says the organization “recommends that food security be used as an indicator of vulnerability to climate change” and “suggests that within the global adaptation architecture, greater space be given to the risks linked to slow-onset impacts of climate change, particularly food security risks” (3/31).