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UN report: poor farmers need help to survive on climate change front line

The world must act now to help small-scale farmers, fishers and herders cope with the effects of climate change. That’s one message from The State of Food and Agriculture, a new UN report. It’s time for action – so why not sign our petition?

People walking to get water in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. Credit: Kieran McConville/Concern Worldwide

The report finds that without drastic steps, some of the world’s poorest people will soon find their ability to feed themselves ‘seriously compromised’. Its authors say people should be helped to get the technology, information and investment they need to find new ways of producing food.

People in poor countries did not cause climate change – but they are most at risk from its effects. And any family left malnourished by climate change will find it harder to survive, thrive and escape poverty altogether. This month’s hard-hitting report is one more reason why the UK government must honour its commitment to help 50 million of the world’s poorest people fight malnutrition.

How does climate change leave people hungry?

Climate change is already affecting food production. It is linked to a rise in extreme weather – floods and droughts can destroy whole harvests in a matter of weeks. Warmer oceans will threaten some fish species, while on land rising heat could create more weeds, insect pests and cattle-killing diseases. What you do if you were a poor farmer in Ethiopia, faced with these problems?

The world’s Sustainable Development Goals include ending hunger by 2030. This was already a big challenge – climate change is making it even tougher.

But there are ways to become more resilient to the effects of climate change. These include finding new ways of managing soil and water supplies, or switching to new crops better suited to the changing climate. Producing a range of food will also help families cope. If one crop or herd has a bad year, people will have other sources of food. Men gather straw on their farm in the rural area of Sokota, Ethiopia. Credit: Sven Torfinn / Panos Pictures

These ideas need action and investment to become a reality. But the UN report points out that the price of adapting to the threat will, in the long run, be far less than the cost of doing nothing.

Sign our petition and give the world’s poorest a fair deal

The UK government has already pledged to improve the nutrition of 50 million people around the world. This would give a new generation a better start in the crucial first 1,000 days of life. Stronger and fully developed children will be more resilient to the problems caused by climate change.

But we are worried that the UK government won’t hit its own target. Please sign our petition and make sure Theresa May doesn’t break 50 million promises to the world’s poorest people.