Calls to Invest in Agriculture Reverberate At Food Crisis Summit
IAEA Contribution Focused on Tackling Climate-Related Pests and Diseases
The inaugural ceremony of the high-level Conference on World Food Security held in Rome from 3-5 June 2008. (Photo: FAO/Giulio Napolitano).
- Story Resources
- Joint FAO/IAEA Programme
- IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
- Screw Worm Outbreak in Yemen, 30 April 2008
- Golden Wheat "Greens" Kenya´s Dryland, Photo Essay
Urgent and decisive action is needed to address food security issues in the face of soaring food prices amid challenges of climate change and energy security, politicians and scientists agreed at a high-level conference that concluded today in Rome, Italy.
"The structural solution to the problem of food security in the world lies in increasing production and productivity in a sustainable way in the low-income, food-deficit countries," said Dr. Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in his opening statement.
To achieve this goal, he added, partnership agreements between countries that have financial resources, management capabilities and technologies and countries that have land, water and human resources, are needed.
The IAEA, through the Joint FAO/IAEA Division, contributed to this event, which also included expert roundtable sessions to address transboundary pests and diseases, climate change, food security and bioenergy. Of particular importance was the session that examined diseases and pests posing particular risks to agriculture in the light of changes in the earth´s climate.
Experts reviewed existing knowledge on the linkages between climate change and their effect on pest and disease risks, with respect to plants and animals, and related human health and food security. They also evaluated the likely consequences of climate change on fish diseases and aquatic-invasive species, and its impact on fisheries and aquaculture, as well as suitable preventative and adaptation measures.
"It was clear from these deliberations, that the Joint FAO/IAEA Division is correctly poised in its development of nuclear and nuclear-related technologies, the transfer and implementation of these technologies and in its approach of a targeted project support to Member States," said Qu Liang, Director of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture.
"In addressing the food crisis challenges, we should not only reflect on solving the immediate, but also plan to meet the even more challenging issues of the future in light of population increases, globalization, resource limitations and external factors like climate change, bioenergy and economic development," he added.
The high-level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy was held at FAO Headquarters from 3-5 June 2008. The conference objective was to assist countries and the international community in devising sustainable solutions to the food crisis by identifying the policies, strategies and programmes required to safeguard world food security in the immediate, short and longer term.
The UN launched the initiative on soaring food prices in December 2007 to respond to the crisis that threatens to push millions of people back into hunger and poverty. High food prices have become a matter of survival for some 2 billion people worldwide, and the world´s poorest spend up to 80 percent of household income on the food they eat. Most of them live in rural areas and make their living from agriculture.
Sustainable intensification of food and agricultural practices, especially in less developed countries, is necessary to mitigate the current food crisis. This requires the political will and involvement of national governments, contributions from non-governmental institutions and international organizations, and assistance from donor countries.
See Story Resources for more information.