WFP study provides first-ever look at the links between climate change and food security in the Philippines
The study was launched at a high-level meeting with the Government, private sector, and development partners, coinciding with the final day of the world’s global climate summit - COP 26 - in Glasgow. In a first for the country, the study presents a set of scenarios of possible climate change impacts over time, in 2030, 2050, 2070, and 2090.
More tropical cyclones enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility than anywhere else in the world, with an average of 20 cyclones in the area per year, and about 8 or 9 of them crossing the Philippines. The study and its country-wide scenarios offer stakeholders information and model situations particularly on food production, accessibility, supply stability, utilization, and consumption patterns, and identify the agricultural livelihoods that could be most impacted by climate change, to what extent, and where.
The study points out that coastal communities dependent on fisheries and aquaculture - like those in Visayas and Mindanao - are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels, storm surges, and saltwater intrusions, that can lead to the destruction of aquatic resources on which communities’ livelihoods depend.
Furthermore, in-land rice production areas in Mindanao may face issues in finding crops suitable to the changing weather patterns due to a high risk of drought. Meanwhile, in Luzon for example, selected provinces in urban zones are projected to be affected by prolonged rainfall, including Isabela, Pasil, Kalinga, Cagayan, resulting in destructive flooding.
Pasture and livestock livelihoods are also at risk due to projected ambient temperatures of 30 °C or more by 2050, which could cause heat stress and other climate-related hazards to livestock in the provinces of Apayao, Abra, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Benguet, and Nueva Vizcaya.
Nearly 10 million Filipinos work in the agriculture sector, which in turn provides food for the population of more than 109 million Filipinos. Yet, the impact of climate change on agriculture is devastating. Past studies have shown that the Philippines incurred Php 463 billion in damages due to extreme weather events over the past decade - 62.7 percent of which - or Php 290 billion - were damages caused to the agriculture sector.
“The agriculture sector is at the forefront of the climate crisis and farmers and fishers need urgent support. We need to get ahead of climate change by acting collectively to protect the lives and livelihoods of farmers and millions of others who work in the sector. By supporting them, we contribute to better food security for all Filipinos,” said WFP Representative and Country Director, Brenda Barton.
The study uses WFP’s Consolidated Livelihood Exercise for Analysing Resilience (CLEAR) methodology to help predict the effect of climate change on livelihoods and food security. With the findings of the study, WFP aims to work with the Philippines Government and partners to identify and develop the most appropriate policies and programmes to prepare for climate risks and disasters, and respond to long-term climate change effects.
“As more sectors have access to this study, it is WFP’s aim that more multi-sectoral interventions aimed at promoting climate change adaptation and livelihood resilience are developed and prioritized,” added Barton.
Today’s high-level meeting opened with a panel discussion featuring the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, Gustavo Gonzalez, and was moderated by UN Environment Programme National Goodwill Ambassador for the Philippines, Antoinette Taus. Other panellists included Dir. Janet Armas from the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development; Dr. Saturnina Halos, Biotechnology Advisory Team Chair of the Dept. of Agriculture; Dr. Susan Mercado from the National Panel of Experts of the Climate Change Commission; Programme Officer Arlynn Aquino, Directorate-General for the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO); Ms. Cherrie Atilano, President and Founding Farmer of AGREA Philippines; and Ms. Ruth Honculada-Georget, National Social Protection Consultant of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Philippines.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
WFP in the Philippines re-established its presence in the country in 2006 at the request of the Government to support the ongoing peace process in the Mindanao region. WFP works closely with the government, other United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, and communities to improve long-term food security while assisting people and communities to build resilience and be better prepared for the consequences of disasters. CLICK HERE to read more.