Coping with climate change – the roles of genetic resources for food and agriculture

January 2015
   Genetic resources for food and agriculture play a crucial role in food security, nutrition and livelihoods and in the provision of environmental services. They are key components of sustainability, resilience and adaptability in production systems. They underpin the ability of crops, livestock, aquatic organisms and forest trees to withstand a range of harsh conditions. Thanks to their genetic diversity plants, animals and micro-organisms adapt and survive when their environments change.  Climate change poses new challenges to the management of the world’s genetic resources for food and agriculture, but it also underlines their importance.
   At the request of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, FAO prepared thematic studies on the interactions between climate change and plant, animal, forest, aquatic, invertebrate and micro-organism genetic resources. This publication summarizes the results of these studies. Agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture and forestry face the challenge of ensuring the food security of an additional 3 billion people by 2050. It has been estimated that this will require a 60 percent increase in global food production.
   Climate change is expected to make the task of achieving food security even more challenging, especially in the most vulnerable parts of the developing world. In these areas in particular, adapting agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture and forestry to the effects of climate change will be imperative for survival. While the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognizes the important role of forests and other terrestrial and marine ecosystems in tackling climate change, the roles of genetic resources for food and agriculture have not been recognized explicitly. At first, most of the UNFCCC’s work focused on climate change mitigation. In 2001, it began addressing the urgent and immediate adaptation needs of least developed countries. In 2010, Parties to the UNFCCC affirmed that adaptation should be addressed at the same level of priority as mitigation.
   The Parties established the Adaptation Committee and initiated the national adaptation plan process to address medium- and long-term adaptation needs.
The general lack of attention given to genetic resources in the international climate change arena results largely from a lack of awareness. While in the agricultural sector there is a clear understanding of the need to maintain and sustainably use genetic diversity in order to respond to ever-changing production conditions, there is an urgent need for greater awareness of the roles and values of genetic resources

for food and agriculture among those engaged in climate change discussions. 

by ThaiWebExpert