Climate change is threatening the Pacific region’s poorest people with increased hunger and malnutrition, and immediate action is called for as the region experiences harsh events such as coastal erosion, floods and drought, a new report shows.
The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) new report, Food Security and Climate Change in the Pacific: Rethinking the Options, states the impacts of global warming are also creating more devastating storm surges. Combined with erosion, drought and flooding, crop production for subsistence and commercial use is being reduced.
“Rising temperatures and rising tides due to climate change could reduce food supply in the Pacific. With over 10 million people in developing countries in the region, this is a threat that we cannot ignore,” said Mahfuzuddin Ahmed, senior economist at the ADB’s Pacific Department, author of the report.
Despite a growing population in the region, crop production has stagnated during the last 45 years as more and more people leave the countryside in search of job security in the cities. As a result, the region has become increasingly dependent on imported food, especially in the urban areas.
The report calls for an increase in investment of agricultural research and development, and instituting plant breeding and resource management programs.
With more than 30 million people being displaced in 2010 from weather-related catastrophes across Asia, the situation will only worsen as the effects of climate change from global warming compound the problem.
At a workshop last week, ADB noted a significant sea-level rise is expected over time and frequencies of extreme weather events linked to global warming are expected to increase. National planning and policies need to consider climate change when dealing with infrastructures such as roads, ports, water lines, and coastal development.
“Communities need to work together to find the best way to adapt to changing agricultural needs and countries should also work with each other and with regional agencies,” Ahmed added in the news release.