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Climate change and food security

According to a recent report by Chatham House climate change, not least through extreme weather events, has resulted in major disruptions at ‘chokepoints’ along global food trade routes. Chokepoints are physical points on trade routes handling high volumes of vital commodities, such as straits, canals, and ports (e.g. the Turkish Straits, or the Panama Canal).

According to the report these climate-related disruptions are likely to increase in magnitude, with major economic, political, humanitarian and social impacts, but little attention has been paid, until now, to these critical chokepoints and their growing importance for global food trade – despite the fact that, at present, four out of five people live in countries depending on imports to feed their populations  Tweet This!.

A call to action

As neither producing nor import-dependent countries are taking action (e.g. investing in infrastructure), there is, currently, no international mechanism in place to address the risk of major disruption to global food supplies. Thus, the report suggests five key areas for action:

  • Chokepoint analysis should be incorporated into mainstream risk management: for example, the governments of food-importing countries should evaluate exposure and vulnerability to chokepoint risk.
  • Investments in infrastructure should be made, to guarantee food security: for example, the G20 should establish a task force on infrastructure compatible with future climate change and related impacts.
  • Confidence and predictability in global food trade should be strengthened, not least through WTO (World Trade Organization) initiatives.
  • Emergency sharing (e.g. strategic stock sharing) and response mechanisms for exposed countries should be developed.
  • An evidence base regarding chokepoint risk should be built: for example, the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) should join forces with governments on this objective.

 

References:

This article was compiled using a publication by Chatham House. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses but made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the publication’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original please revert to the link below:

https://www.chathamhouse.org/publication/chokepoints-vulnerabilities-global-food-trade?_ga=2.258969866.1818821001.1499152740-1896676843.1499152740

 

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