UN summit takes steps to ensure food security by 2050

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Global efforts to protect 500 million farmers from climate change while increasing agricultural productivity and reducing carbon emissions were strengthened at UN Climate Summit, with commitments pledged by dozens of countries, companies and organizations.

Rice production in Tajikistan. [Photo/FAO]

More than 20 governments, 30 organizations and companies announced they would join the newly launched Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture. The countries joining represent millions of farmers, at least a quarter of the world cereal production, 43 million undernourished people and 16 per cent of total agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

The Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture aims to achieve: Sustainable and equitable increases in agricultural productivity and incomes; greater resilience of food systems and farming livelihoods; and reduction and/or removal of greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture (including the relationship between agriculture and ecosystems), wherever possible. It aims to improve people's food and nutrition security to adjust agricultural practices, food systems and social policies so they account for climate change and the efficient use of natural resources. It will work with stakeholders, including governments, farmers, scientists, businesses, civil society and regional and international organizations.

"I am glad to see action that will increase agricultural productivity, build resilience for farmers and reduce carbon emissions," said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "These efforts will improve food and nutrition security for billions of people."

With demand for food set to increase 60 per cent by 2050, agricultural practices are transforming to meet the challenge of food security for the world's 9 billion people while reducing emissions.

Regional efforts underway to carry out climate-smart agriculture include the Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance, which will help about 25 million farming households across Africa practice climate-smart agriculture by 2025. Set up by the African Union, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and five non-governmental organizations (World Vision, Oxfam, CARE International, Concern Worldwide and Catholic Relief Services), the African Alliance shows how governments and civil society can work together.

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