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Climate Change and Urban Food Security

Updated: Jul 20

By Md. Saiful Islam, Young Climate Activist, Movers Envoy and YECAP Fellow from Bangladesh

Farmer carrying crops
Photo credit: Newsweek

A crucial element of human well-being and a requirement for sustainable development is food security. In developing nations, the production of food is a significant source of employment and export revenue. Thus, impoverished countries will be disproportionately affected by the negative consequences of climate change on agriculture.

In numerous smaller Melanesian and Polynesian atolls, agricultural gardens are at risk of saltwater intrusion and windstorm damage due to rising average sea levels and more intense storm surges. They are additionally extremely susceptible to damage from heat and extreme weather are export income crops including copra, coffee, and sugarcane.

The marine ecosystems that are essential to both commercial and subsistence fishing may be impacted by rising ocean temperatures. Crop yields in East and Southeast Asia might rise up by 20% by the middle of the twenty-first century. In the same time frame, yields in central and south Asia might drop by 30%.

Inadequate food security affects a large portion of the population in Latin American cities, ranging from malnutrition to occasional famine. According to the Human Development Report from 2005, 10% of people in Latin America and the Caribbean are malnourished. But in very impoverished Caribbean and Central American countries like Haiti (47%), Honduras (22%), and Guatemala (24%), which are expected to be severely impacted by extreme weather occurrences linked to climate change.

Forecasts indicate a fall in forestry and grain crop production. Farmland along the shore may be in danger as a result of sea level rise impact on natural barriers like mangroves. The loss of important estuarine fisheries and the threat to tourism are both caused by coral reef bleaching. Since many rural communities in Latin America are already extremely poor, they lack the means needed to change their farming methods or deal with more frequent adverse weather. In Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Peru, at least 70% of the rural population is impoverished. Moreover, one-third of the rural population in Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Peru suffers from extreme poverty.

In Africa, small-scale agriculture, which is reliant on direct rainfall, provides work for more than 70% of the workforce. Even the smallest shifts in weather patterns have the potential to jeopardize food security. The consequences of climate change will pose significant challenges to the coordination of assistance operations and the creation of development programmes.

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