Food production in developing economies in the Asia-Pacific region would be the most affected by climate change, said a report released on Wednesday by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).
Southeast Asia, parts of China and a number of the Pacific islands are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels because significant agricultural production and food system infrastructure are located in low-lying coastal areas, said the report, which was released during the APEC Leaders' Week in the Peruvian capital Lima.
"This is of great concern to us because of the concentration of food-insecure people in the very region which will be affected negatively by climate change," Walter Armbruster, chairman of the Pacific Food System Outlook project, told reporters.
About 11 percent or 210 million people, mostly in the poorest economies in Southeast Asia, South America and parts of China, are considered food-insecure in the Asia-Pacific region.
Adequate measures need to be taken to address the issue, even though the impact of climate change on food security remains modest compared to non-climate factors, he said.
Armbruster proposed launching initial programs to reduce greenhouse gases preferably on a global scale through APEC, the United Nations or similar institutions.
He also suggested expanding production of biofuels in a cost-effective manner, and promote the greatest possible openness in the region's food system and efficient food allocation in case of food supply disruptions.
According to the PECC report, over the next century, agricultural productivity is expected to increase by 9 percent in the United States and Canada, but decline 20 percent in Latin American countries and 9 percent in Southeast Asia.
The PECC is a non-government group consisting of 26 member committees in the Asia-Pacific region.
(Xinihua News Agency November 20, 2008)