3. Climate Change and the Right to Food

Anna Lee James – 814003910

Climate Change is a global phenomenon and the effects are detrimental. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) describe it as “a change in the typical or average weather of a region or city. This change can be in a region’s average annual rainfall or it could be a change in a city’s average temperature for a given month or season. It further states that Climate change is also a change in Earth’s overall climate, the  change in Earth’s average temperature and  Earth’s typical precipitation patterns. Agriculture is one of the most important sectors in the world and it is also highly dependent on climate. The impact on climate change on the agriculture sector is damaging and it is a cause for concern. These effects includes: unfavourable weather conditions contributing to low productivity, increase in pest and diseases as a result of prolong rainfall, heat stress and other negative factors.

The term ‘Right to Adequate Food’ is derived from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food in 2002 defined the “right to adequate food” as follows: “Right to adequate food is a human right, inherent in all people, to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access, either directly or by means of financial purchases, to quantitatively and qualitatively adequate and sufficient food corresponding to the cultural traditions of people to which the consumer belongs, and which ensures a physical and mental, individual and collective fulfilling and dignified life free of fear.”The pressing issue here is how we can ensure food adequacy where there is this global phenomenon like climate change and the sector that we rely on for food is highly dependent on climate and it is changing! Approximately, two thirds of greenhouse gas emissions and 78% of agricultural methane emissions come from the livestock sector. It is evident that to deal with this pressing issue three things must be taken into consideration: 1.farmers must come up with new alternatives that will help limit the amount of methane emissions coming from their practices or the raring of their livestock, 2.farmers must develop and implement technologies or practices to ensure productivity and proper health of their animals and 3. Implement measures to reduce the impacts of Climate Change on food security.

According to the article “The ground exhales: reducing agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions”, there are a number of ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farms, but none is completely simple. It states that, in climates where the ground freezes, overwintering plants on the soil (that is, leaving plants intact on the soil surface after harvest instead of ploughing them in or removing them in the fall) can help reduce nitrous oxide emissions. Secondly, limiting inputs of nitrogen to just the amount likely to be usable by plants can reduce emissions. Furthermore, Farmers can also implement management practices, such as incorporating proper waste disposal systems to effectively get rid of waste. The waste can be treated and used to fertilize the soil. This treatment includes bio gas digesters in intensive farming systems to reduce methane releases.

Additionally , Climate change will affect people’s ability to access food chiefly via purchase.  Climate change is also likely to affect the geography of production at large scales –shifts in areas of crop or livestock production suitability, which could have substantial impacts on prices, trade flows and food access. Not only farmers have to play a role in food adequacy but other sectors as well as the government. Initiatives must be put into place to ensure sustainability and productivity. Some iniatives can include: strategic design of land use options based on agro-ecological analysis and farmer typologies, ii) promoting climate-smart technologies and maximizing synergies amongst interventions; iii) providing value-added weather services to local farmers to manage variability; iv) promoting weather-based insurance options for climate risk management; v) facilitating community partnership for knowledge sharing; and vi) capacity development in climate change adaptation. Furthermore , water-smart practices (rainwater harvesting, laser land levelling, micro-irrigation, raised bed planting, change in crop establishment methods), weather-smart activities (ICT-based agro-advisories, index-based insurance, stress tolerant crop varieties), nutrient-smart practices (site specific nutrient management, precision fertilizers, residue management, legume catch-cropping), carbon- and energy-smart practices (agroforestry, conservation tillage, residue management, legumes, livestock management) and knowledge-smart activities (farmer-to-farmer learning, capacity development, community seed banks and cooperatives, crop diversification, market information and off-farm risk management).

Although climate Change is a pressing issue in the world today, we must take measure to reduce these risks on our food security.

References :


Climate Change and the Right to Food – Hamza Ali, ID# 813004024

Climate change, regardless of which side of the debate you are one, is an ever-growing issue. It can be defined as any long-term change in the earth’s climate, temperature and general weather patterns. Climate change has the potential to have tremendous negative global impacts. The susceptibility of different sectors to respond to climate change has hastened the need to find inventive ways of combating its effect. The most pressing is the ability of the world to continue to improve on the ability to feed global population, whilst reducing the emissions produced that contribute to climate change.

In 2014, there was a summit, resulting in the Paris Agreement, which stated that countries agreed to keep global temperatures from increasing beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius as opposed to the previous target of 2 degrees Celsius. However, an article, authored by Ms. Hilal Lever raised the issue that agriculture and small holder farms were not given the attention they needed at this summit. She further went on the claim that agricultural sector accounts for nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however, upon further research, the IPCC 2014, stated based on data up to 2010, that this value is much lower than Ms. Elver claimed, at approximately 24%. The other 20% is offset by the emissions that are removed from the system by agricultural ecosystem services. Sources of the emissions are mainly from fertilizer use, land clearing and livestock production

Having identified the question of how to reduce emissions while still producing food, Ms. Lever stated that small holder farmers should be the focus as they produce food for roughly 70% of the world. A suggestion can be made that these farmers should not just be empowered, but taught sustainable techniques that can be implemented using cost effective practices. Such practices can include, intercropping; to alleviate need for fertilizer and pesticide usage, switching to water based systems such as aquaculture or aquaponics; to reduce the need for soil based agriculture and reduce emissions associated with that or even introduce concepts of permaculture where applicable.



Climate Change and the Right to Food


ID: 814004449

Climate change has impacted food security in ways such as causing damage to the quality of crop yields, increasing the prices of crops, creating diseases and interrupting food security policies and strategies.

The author, Hilal Elver stated “Food security should not be based on charity. The right to food gives a legal entitlement to people.” I agree with her statement because food security should be focused only on rights and needs bases. It should focus on providing food for people who need it and also facilitate economic structures for people to acquire proper nutrients themselves. This can be done with the help of all sectors within the country/community. The author also mentioned the Paris agreement and their main goal which is to reduce temperatures from 2 degrees Celsius to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Paris agreement is indeed a one way to reduce the impacts of climate change on food security but another and more effective way mentioned was Agroecology. This is more effective because it has helped increased food production for billions of people and is also continuing to help end hunger. In order for sustainable livelihoods to be maintained, growing and harvesting food is their main source of survival.

In conclusion, there are many ways in which farmers/smallholders can help reduce and eventually put an end to these impacts on food security. They will first need support from their government which would help provide management on the natural resources needed to secure food security and provide adaptations to climate change. They will also need improvements on buildings, financial access, information on climate change and guidance from an extension officer in order to help create mitigation and adaptation strategies. Once these farmers and smallholders receive the help needed, they will respond effectively to climate change.



“Climate Change and the Right to Food” – Al Jazeera English. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/12/climate-change-food-151222125711435.html Accessed on 10 April 2017.

“Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security” http://www.fao.org/publications/sofa/2016/en/

Accessed on 10 April 2017.



Climate Change and the Right to Food

Amanda Gayah



Climate change is a large-scale, long-term shift in the planet’s weather patterns or average temperatures. This is seen to be one of the biggest concerns of the 21st century as it brings about changes in different areas such as rainfall where some regions have experienced decreased rainfall while other have observed an increase, rises in the earth’s temperature, the shrinking of ice sheets, retreating glaciers, and rises in the sea levels. These are just highlights of a few of the changes and the impacts on society, the environment as well as people.

The article by Hilal Elver entitled “Climate change and the right to food. Food security should not be based on charity. The right to food gives a legal entitlement to people.” draws attention to the short comings of the Paris agreement and its failure to incorporate the acknowledgement of agriculture, small-holder farmers and fossil fuel but were rather clumped together in other issues regarding the hungry and food insecure of the developing countries who make up 95 percent. Elver states that while the FAO seemed satisfied that the issue of food security and hunger made its way into the agreement along with food production in Article II it was merely a repetition of the Framework Convention of the Climate Change in 1992.

The world consumes around 70percent of the food produced by small-holder farmers however they make up around 80percent of those who cannot gain access to nutritious, affordable and sufficient food. This can be due to the exportation of their production, government policies as well as lack of money. Though agriculture itself will be affected by the damages of climate change it is also a contributor to its own demise as the article states that agriculture along with food systems contribute to an average of 40percent of greenhouse gas emission. This can be seen in the use of synthetic fertilizers, the methane along with nitrous oxide from cattle and rice paddies and the deforestation for the use of crop cultivation to name a few.

This then shows the importance for the need of a sustainable agriculture type. This new method must then seek to mitigate climate change by reducing the greenhouse gas emission while being able to adapt to changing in extreme climate conditions as well as provide income for small-holder farmers. An approach that may well work is that of agroecology which is supported by the FAO. This field will require the work of small-holder farmers as stated in the article, “They already are the producers of most what we consume.” They can then develop ways of managing resources and changes. This can be better done by having collaborations between small-hold famers and researchers therefore building upon the local knowledge of the farmers and the innovation of researchers. This type of agriculture has proven to be beneficial to Cuba after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Elver is in every right to state, “Food security should not be based on charity” therefore policy makers and governments need to protect the rights of small-holder farmers and not undermine their ability to adapt and change therefore leading to better development of farming practices and crops, they also need to be supportive in the initiative of the collaboration between farmers and researchers as well as fulfilling the right to food for all and ensuring food security 800 million hungry and two billion food-insecure people.





“Climate change and the right to food.” Al Jazeera English. December 25, 2015. Accessed April 9, 2017. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/12/climate-change-food-151222125711435.html.

“Welcome to Bedford Borough Council.” Climate Change and adaptation. Accessed April 9, 2017. http://www.bedford.gov.uk/health_and_social_care/bedford_borough_jsna/wider_determinants/climate_change_and_adaptation.aspx.

Patel, Raj. “What Cuba Can Teach Us About Food and Climate Change.” Slate Magazine. Accessed April 10, 2017. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/future_tense/2012/04/agro_ecology_lessons_from_cuba_on_agriculture_food_and_climate_change_.html.

“Climate change.” Climate change – Olivier De Schutter | United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Accessed April 10, 2017. http://www.srfood.org/en/climate-change-2.

Climate Change and the Right to Food



Climate change is the long term change in the Earth’s climate, whether it be global, regional or in a state or country. Climate change does indeed impact on all four dimensions of food security: food availability, food accessibility, food utilization and food systems stability.

The article sub-titled, “Food security should not be based on charity. The right to food gives a legal entitlement to people”, is one which I agree upon.

The writer, Hilal Elver, states very clearly that although the Paris Agreement mentioned food security and hunger, it failed to mention food production, especially amongst the small-scale farmers. Although they produce 70% of the world’s foods, they constitute of about 80% of the world who are food insecure. This, in my opinion, may be through inequity in the food system and also governmental policies which may allow most of the production of foods to be exported and not enjoyed within the country and/or the farmers.

Ms. Elver continued by saying that the Paris Agreement only repeated what was already mentioned in the United Framework Convention of the Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 but failed to give voice to the billions of people who are indeed hungry and food insecure. Although it is known that agriculture is a vast contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable agricultural practices can be implemented such as Agroecology, which supports small-holder farmers and local food systems, encourages less chemical use and more natural techniques, and combines traditional farming methods with new technology, while respecting cultural norms.

This article, made great points to how climate change is affecting food security and also the relation in which the Paris Agreement makes to combat this change, which is lowering the heat from 2 degrees Celsius to 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, although organizations may negotiate to make positive changes to enhance the environment and decrease food insecurity and hence improving livelihoods, politicians, elites and policies would always hold the upper end of the hierarchy. In this way, what was created from hundreds of years ago (the rich will become richer and the poor, poorer), would always be a part humanity. Though it is a sad reality, much is being done and has been done to decrease hunger and food insecurity, but there would always remain a few who would ensure they obtain most for themselves.



“Climate change and the right to food” – Al Jazeera English. Available at: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/12/climate-change-food-151222125711435.html. Accessed 09 April 2017.

Paris Climate Agreement unlocks opportunities for food and farming | CCAFS: CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. 2017. Paris Climate Agreement unlocks opportunities for food and farming | CCAFS: CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. Available at: https://ccafs.cgiar.org/research-highlight/paris-climate-agreement-unlocks-opportunities-food-and-farming#.WOq98lUrK00. Accessed 09 April 2017.