about the author
Richard Choularton is the Chief of the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative (OSZIR), based at WFP headquarters in Rome.
A new poster map designed by WFP and UK Met Office Hadley Centre weaves together the latest information on climate change and food insecurity to show how the two are related. The map is one of the innovations that WFP is bringing to the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun.
CANCUN—Most climate scientists agree that our climate is changing and they concur on some of the ways it is changing. However, the details of what more frequent extreme weather events means for food security are more complex.
What is clear is that there is a remarkable coincidence between current hunger and vulnerability to climate risks. The most undernourished populations tend to also be the most vulnerable to the impacts of extreme weather events and climate-related disasters.
In Cancun, at COP16, leaders from around the world are discussing climatic change and particularly how best to adapt to the unavoidable consequences of a changing climate over the next few decades.
But, for many developing countries efforts to adapt to the possible impacts are limited by the lack of robust climate projections at the regional and national levels, as well as the lack of rigorous understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on the lives and livelihoods of their citizens.
To allow governments and communities to better understand the nexus between climate change and hunger and malnutrition the WFP and the UK Met Office Hadley Centre are working to integrate state-of-the-art climate science with cutting-edge food security information. Their joint research will provide a foundation for the development of robust adaptation measures.
A first step
WFP and the UK Met Office's Food Insecurity and Climate Change poster is a first step towards filling the gap and developing a deeper understanding of the links between climate vulnerability, hunger, and climate change.
It includes the preliminary results of a hunger and climate vulnerability index, which uses socioeconomic and climate information to identify the specific factors that make a country vulnerable to climate impacts on hunger risk, as well as a summary of what we know and don’t know about the impact of climate variability and climate change on hunger.
In the future, WFP will be working with the UK Met Office to further develop better and more rigorous tools to support informed policy planning and decision making. The ultimate aim will be tohelp poor communities reduce risk, become food secure, and ultimately build resilient livelihoods.