Women are agents of change in food and climate battle ActionAid tells G8 environment ministers

Women need to be recognised for their role in securing food supplies and fighting climate change, ActionAid told G8 environment ministers (when they met) in Italy ahead of this year’s summit in July.

“It is women farmers in developing countries who are the true custodians of genetic varieties on which the human food chain depends,” ActionAid’s food policy adviser Magdalena Kropownicka said.

Agriculture is particularly vulnerable to climate change – 70 per cent of the world’s extreme poverty is found in agricultural areas where farmers depend on rain for their harvests. And it is estimated that yields from rain-fed agriculture could drop by 50 per cent in some African countries by 2020.

G8 ministers need to make serious progress in ensuring additional funding for adaptation, addressing the role of sustainable agriculture, ActionAid said.

“As the major current and historical polluters, rich countries have an obligation to cut their own emissions and ensure that the Adaptation Fund receives the necessary sums, so that those most affected by climate change, such as women farmers in developing countries, receive due attention as the true agents of change.”

While women in developing countries are responsible for up to 70 per cent of local food production, they often lack access to and control over land, technologies, and credit. As a result, they are more vulnerable to seasonal and episodic weather and to natural disasters resulting from climate change.

“Support for sustainable, climate-resilient agriculture is key to enabling farmers to increase food security and adapt to climate change,” Ms Kropownicka said.

ActionAid wants G8 countries to commit to greenhouse gas reductions of at least 40 per cent (against 1990 levels) by 2020. It says they should pay their fair share of the estimated US$180 billion a year to help developing countries tackle climate change, raising the necessary finance by levying carbon taxes.

Notes:
* Japan, the US and Europe release over 40 per cent of global emissions.
* One person in 19 living in the world’s poorest countries is at risk from climate change, compared to one in 1,500 in wealthiest.
* If sea levels rise by one metre, 17.5 per cent of Bangladesh will disappear under sea, potentially affecting 70 million people.
* In 2007, 12 of the 13 UN emergency appeals were related to severe storms, floods and droughts.
* Yields from agriculture fed by rainfall could drop by 50 per cent in some African countries by 2020.
* Agriculture accounts for about 14 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, and land use changes such as deforestation for another 17 percent.

Based on these considerations ActionAid recommends the following:
* G8 countries should commit to greenhouse gas reductions of at least 40 per cent (against 1990 levels) by 2020.
* G8 countries should pay their fair share of the estimated US$180 billion a year to help developing countries tackle climate change.
* G8 countries should support carbon taxes to raise the necessary finance.
* The post-2012 agreement must provide substantial new and additional resources for climate change adaptation.
* The post-2012 agreement must recognise agriculture as a sector that is particularly vulnerable to climate change, and provide funding for adaptation strategies based on sustainable agricultural techniques that allow communities to combat hunger and realise their right to food.

ActionAid’s HungerFREE campaign calls on governments to deliver on their commitment to halve world hunger by 2015.

ActionAid is an international anti-poverty agency working in over 40 countries, taking sides with poor people to end poverty and injustice together. http://www.actionaid.org

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/fromthefield/216723/9165db1cc80f4de9d88c58fc9a088a9c.htm



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