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Climate change and nutrition: Creating a climate for nutrition security

This article forms part of the latest Food Nutrition Bulletin, and aims to identify and undertake a cross-sectoral analysis of the impacts of climate change on nutrition security. It also seeks to analyse the existing mechanisms, strategies, and policies to address these impacts. The article argues that key climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives should involve nutrition and health stakeholders and that climate-resilient sustainable development efforts in the UNFCCC work and in the post 2015 development agenda should integrate nutrition-sensitive actions.

This article forms part of the latest Food Nutrition Bulletin, and aims to identify and undertake a cross-sectoral analysis of the impacts of climate change on nutrition security. It also seeks to analyse the existing mechanisms, strategies, and policies to address these impacts. The article argues that key climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives should involve nutrition and health stakeholders and that climate-resilient sustainable development efforts in the UNFCCC work and in the post 2015 development agenda should integrate nutrition-sensitive actions.

The paper argues that the following combination of approaches are needed to address the climate-food and nutrition challenges we face: nutrition-sensitive adaptation and mitigation measures, climate-resilient and nutrition-sensitive agricultural development, social protection, improved maternal and child care and health, nutrition-sensitive risk reduction and management, community development measures, nutrition-smart investments, increased policy coherence, and institutional and cross-sectoral collaboration.  

Abstract

Background: Climate change further exacerbates the enormous existing burden of undernutrition. It affects food and nutrition security and undermines current efforts to reduce hunger and promote nutrition. Undernutrition in turn undermines climate resilience and the coping strategies of vulnerable populations.
Objectives: The objectives of this paper are to identify and undertake a cross-sectoral analysis of the impacts of climate change on nutrition security and the existing mechanisms, strategies, and policies to address them.
Methods: A cross-sectoral analysis of the impacts of climate change on nutrition security and the mechanisms and policies to address them was guided by an analytical framework focused on the three 'underlying causes' of undernutrition: 1) household food access, 2) maternal and child care and feeding practices, 3) environmental health and health access. The analytical framework includes the interactions of the three underlying causes of undernutrition with climate change, vulnerability, adaptation and mitigation.
Results: Within broad efforts on climate change mitigation and adaptation and climate-resilient development, a combination of nutrition-sensitive adaptation and mitigation measures, climate-resilient and nutrition-sensitive agricultural development, social protection, improved maternal and child care and health, nutrition-sensitive risk reduction and management, community development measures, nutrition-smart investments, increased policy coherence, and institutional and cross-sectoral collaboration are proposed as a means to address the impacts of climate change to food and nutrition security. This paper proposes policy directions to address nutrition in the climate change agenda and recommendations for consideration by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Conclusions: Nutrition and health stakeholders need to be engaged in key climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives, including science-based assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and policies and actions formulated by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Improved multi-sectoral coordination and political will is required to integrate nutrition-sensitive actions into climate-resilient sustainable development efforts in the UNFCCC work and in the post 2015 development agenda. Placing human rights at the center of strategies to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change and international solidarity is essential to advance sustainable development and to create a climate for nutrition security.

Citation

M. C.Tirado,  P. Crahay,  L Mahy, C. Zanev, M. Neira, S. Msangi, R. Brown, C. Scaramella, D. Coitinho, Costa; A. Müller, Climate change and nutrition: Creating a climate for nutrition security, Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 2013

Read the full article here and see the latest Food Nutrition Bulletin for related articles here.

Read more and review our extensive list of resources on climate change and agriculture here and see our list of papers on effects of climate change here. You can also find information about the projected effects of climate change on agriculture here. Reports and papers focusing on nutrition are gathered here.

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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