World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


UN: War Against Hunger Can Be Won on Farmlands

New York, Nov 5 2009

The world’s farmlands can be the frontline for the fight against the impact of climate change and the battle to feed the mounting global population, according to a new ( report released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization ( today.

The report noted that crop farming not only suffers from global warming, but also contributes 14 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

But agriculture also has the potential to play a critical role in slashing global emissions, with around 70 percent of the possibility of alleviating the effect of climate change coming from developing countries, FAO said.

Improvements in cropland and grazing land management as well as the restoration of organic soils and degraded lands are the most significant technical measures to lessen the impact of climate change.

Nearly, 90 per cent of this potential will come from capturing carbon in the soil before it escapes into the atmosphere, according to the report, Food Security and Agricultural Mitigation in Developing Countries: Options for Capturing Synergies.

Agricultural mitigation options that sequester carbon can include low tillage, utilizing residues for composting or mulching, use of perennial crops to cover soil, and re-seeding or improving grazing management on grasslands.

“Many effective strategies for climate change mitigation from agriculture also benefit food security, development and adaptation to climate change,” said FAO Assistant Director-General Alexander Müller.

A move that may boost food production would involve increasing the levels of organic matter in soil, leading to better plant nutrition and increased water retention capacity, which will in turn eventually result in higher yields and greater resilience.

The FAO report highlighted other options that involve difficult trade-offs, such as biofuel production, which provides a clean alternative to fossil fuel but competes for land and water resources needed for food production.

Restoration of organic soils also enables greater carbon sequestration, but may reduce the land available for food production.

The report stressed that many of the technical mitigation options are readily available and could be deployed immediately, noting that while these measures often generate a net positive benefit over time, they involve significant up-front costs.

In a related development, the heads of the UN’s Rome-based agencies – FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development ( and the World Food Programme ( – met today ahead of the World Summit on Food Security in two weeks to determine ways of combining their expertise to better serve the world’s one billion hungry people.

“The sum total of the Rome-based agencies is greater than our individual parts and roles,” FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze and WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said in a joint statement.

“To succeed we need to work together. This is the time to put actions ahead of words,” they added.

The meeting brought together top management teams to advance initiatives ranging from joint administrative efficiencies to strategic country-led food security programmes, and to build on progress made over the past two years improving cost-efficiency and cooperation.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Tigray: Eritrean Refugees ‘scared And Struggling To Eat’ Amid Aid Obstacles
For the first time in weeks, aid teams have reached refugee camps in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, only to find that some Eritrean nationals living there have likely died of preventable diseases, while others are “scared and struggling to get enough to eat”, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said on Friday...

UN News: Rare Coral Reef Discovered Near Tahiti Is ‘Like A Work Of Art’, Says Diver
One of the largest coral reefs in the world has been discovered by a UN-supported scientific mission off the coast of Tahiti. Announcing the stunning find on Thursday, UNESCO said that divers had explored large rose-shaped corals spanning some three kilometres, at depths of between 30 and 65 metres... More>>

Tonga Eruption: At Least 3 Dead, Amid Severe Destruction
At least three people have died in Tonga following the massive volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami wave that hit over the weekend. Homes and other buildings across the archipelago have suffered major damage... More>>

Ethiopia: UN Chief Lauds ‘Demonstrable Effort To Make Peace’

The UN Secretary-General on Wednesday said he was “delighted” to learn that “a demonstrable effort to make peace” in Ethiopia is finally underway, according to information relayed to him by the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa... More>>

Tigray: Agencies Suspend Aid As ‘Scores’ Are Killed Due To Airstrikes
Recent airstrikes on camps for internally displaced persons and refugees in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, have reportedly killed scores of civilians, including children, and left many more injured... More>>

UN News: For 25th Year In A Row, Greenland Ice Sheet Shrinks

2021 marked the 25th year in a row in which the key Greenland ice sheet lost more mass during the melting season, than it gained during the winter, according to a new UN-endorsed report issued on Friday... More>>

  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC