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FAO official on climate change and food security
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Climate change will compound the already difficult task to feed an increasing population of the world, and a political consensus on reacting to climate change has to be reached as soon as possible, said a U.N. official on Thursday.

"My fear is that the political process on climate change is moving very slow. I wonder if we can afford it. We have to react quickly, on climate change mitigation at all levels and starting climate change adaptation," Dr. Wulf Killmann, chairperson of FAO' s Inter-departmental Working Group on Climate Change said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Climate change and its impacts add to the many reasons why there are still millions of people around the world on hunger.

The international community has set the task of reducing the number of people on hunger by half by 2015, but climate change has made it more difficult to realize the goal, said Dr. Killman.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is committed to achieving food security for all. And food security is not only about food production, but also access to enough food.

FAO has as its mandate to assist member countries in overcoming hunger, maintaining food production, food accessibility and food stability, said the U.N. official on the sidelines of the ongoing U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali.

"FAO's grave concern is what to do to avoid deforestation or at least to reduce it," said Mr. Killmann from the Rome-based U.N. body.

According to FAO statistics, deforestation is estimated to have occurred at the alarming rate of 13 million hectares per year in the period 1990-2005, accounting for 20 percent of global annual greenhouse gas emissions in the late 1990s and making it the world ' s second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The FAO, as an observer to the U.N. climate change conference, stands ready to offer technical assistance in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, said Mr. Killmann.

The FAO is also to stage a series of side events at Forest Day that falls on December 8 to promote awareness for sustainable forest management and climate change mitigation, said the U.N. official.

The FAO is working with different countries at different levels in climate change adaptation. However, climate change adaptation methods in the agricultural sector must "go hand in hand" with mitigation, he said.

The FAO is due to hold a high-level conference on world food security and the challenges of climate change and bio-energy in Rome in June next year, and some heads of state or government are expected to attend the meeting.

(Xinhua News Agency December 7, 2007)

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