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Climate Change Could Threaten Food Security, Warns UN Human Rights Expert

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A United Nations (UN) human rights expert warns about the impact of climate change on food security and predicts that an estimated additional 600 million people will be malnourished by 2080.

Hilal Elver, who was appointed by the Human Rights Council on the Right to Food, said that increasing temperatures and sea levels, droughts, floods and worsening of the intensity and frequency of extreme weather could have a significant impact on food supply around the globe.

Her report, which highlighted her concerns surrounding food security, was presented to the UN General Assembly's Third Committee on October.

Speaking in advance for United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) to be held in Paris on November, these extreme changes in the environment brought about by global warming could negatively affect the livelihood of people including crops, fisheries, livestock and agriculture.

In a report presented to the UN General Assembly's Third Committee in October, the Special Rapporteur then expressed concern on how climate change affects the right to food.

However, the implementation of large-scale production oriented agricultural models by nations is not the 'right solution' to the problem. Instead, Ms. Elver recommends a major shift from industrial agriculture to transformative systems. Agro-ecology is the application of ecology to the management of sustainable agro-ecosystems.

This system focuses on food production to make the best use of nature's resources without imposing damage to the environment. She urged world leaders to implement urgent actions to respond to the damaging effects of climate change.

"The standard discourse on climate change tends to overlook the fundamental relevance of climate justice and human rights considerations in shaping its recommended response to the policy challenges it poses," notes Ms. Elver.

Climate change affects food supply, availability, and accessibility to all individuals, including the physically vulnerable like children, adults, and people with disabilities. It also impacts food sustainability and its adequacy to supply nutritional needs.

A reform is needed to ensure that agriculture and food systems are more responsive to climate change.

"Food security and adaptation to climate change are mutually supportive; in many situations, strategies to reduce vulnerability to climate change will also increase food security," she added.

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