A Recipe to End Hunger: Food Policies that Adapt to Climate Change

New Online Course by UNDP, FAO and UNITAR provides tools on how countries can better prepare climate-resilient food systems

Author: Joan, Josep and Jordi Roca | Published: September 27, 2017

In our age of conspicuous consumption and excess, it frightens us to know that one out of nine people ­– or 815 million children, women and men – remain chronically undernourished.

And according to recent reports, the issue has been getting worse, with the number of undernourished people worldwide increasing from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016.

So how do we build a recipe to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people have access to sufficient and nutritious food year-round?

It’s not going to be easy. Climate change is altering age-old farming traditions, affecting livelihoods in local communities, and small producers who bring healthy food to our tables. It is also triggering massive droughts and floods that put our global goal of zero hunger at risk.

Even a 2°C global temperate increase will be devastating for farmers and the 2 billion extra mouths we will need to feed by 2050. The cost of corn – the backbone of much of the world’s diet – could jump by 50 percent, and crop production could decline by as much as 22 percent in sub-Saharan Africa. Droughts, floods and other large-scale climate disasters would put more lives at risk of malnutrition, starvation and uncertain futures.

As chefs who are also working with the SDG Fund as UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors, we know that food is the essential ingredient of life. It nourishes young minds, builds strong bones and fuels our economies. On small farms across the globe, food and agriculture are the primary drivers of development and poverty reduction. Without more climate-resilient food systems, we risk even greater calamites and the unravelling of progress we’ve made in reducing hunger, protecting our planet and supporting developing economies to reach their full potential.

Major climate disrupters, such as the recent floods across Asia, landslides in Sierra Leone, and hurricanes across the Caribbean and the United States, take away lives, destroy productive assets and shatter entire communities. This cycle of destruction will only get worse as temperatures and sea levels rise. It also puts farming at risk, especially for poor, small-scale farmers who largely depend on rain-fed agriculture.