Challenging the Change: The Growing Impact of Climate Change on PH Food Security and Livelihoods
12 November 2021
The new WFP study analyzes climate change through both geospatial and livelihood lenses
On the final day of the world’s global climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow - the World Food Programme Philippines organized a high-level roundtable to discuss a new study which illustrates the impact of increasing climate change on food security and livelihoods.
Globally, in 2020, extreme weather contributed to most of the world’s food crises and was the primary driver of acute hunger in 15 countries. Climate shocks and stresses are increasingly destroying lives, crops and livelihoods, and undermining people’s ability to feed themselves. The Philippines ranks fourth amongst countries in the world most affected by climate risks over the last 20-year period. November has been a month of particular devastation caused by typhoons and super typhoons, stretching from Haiyan eight years to VAMCO and Goni last year.
The World Food Programme, together with the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, launched the study entitled, “Climate Change and Food Security Analysis in the Philippines,” on 12 November 2021 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM. This is a virtual forum called “Challenging the Change: Mitigating the Impact of Climate Change on Food Security and Livelihoods in the Philippines.”
According to the study, climate variability and extreme hazards such as typhoons, floods and drought are projected to have a substantial impact on agricultural, livestock, and fishery supply chains that will affect all aspects from production to distribution to consumption across both urban and rural sectors. This could in turn negatively affect the availability, affordability and accessibility to nutritious food for the Philippine population, particularly for the most vulnerable, poor and remote populations.
By analyzing climate change through both geospatial and livelihood lenses, this report highlights that the effects of climate change can significantly vary at the local and regional level, and also nationwide for particular types of livelihoods. Both urban and rural populations that are already afflicted by food and nutrition insecurity are the most vulnerable to these effects, particularly rural families whose main income depends on agricultural livelihoods.
This roundtable was opened by UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez and World Food Programme Philippines Representative and Country Director Brenda Barton.
Below is the text of Mr. Gonzalez's remarks:
I am very pleased to be here at this event which brings together two key priorities of the UN Secretary General for this year. As you all know, today will be the last day of this year’s global climate change conference - COP26 - where expectations are very high that the conference will lead to concrete commitments and actions to meet climate ambitions. In September of this year, a global Food Systems Summit tackled the challenge of transforming food systems, including how to minimize their impacts on the climate, as well as how to ensure access to food in light of significant climate changes.
These two issues - climate change and food security – are closely intertwined and pose highly significant challenges for the Philippines. Though most of you will already know, it is worth repeating and highlighting that on one hand, the country ranks 2nd out of 135 countries in the world most affected by climate change impacts based on the Global Climate Risk Index 2020. On the other hand, in 2020, moderate or severe prevalence of food insecurity in the Philippines stood at 62.1%, more than double the global rate of 25.5%. In this context, the study that we are launching today – the Philippines Climate Change and Food Security Analysis – plays an important role in increasing our shared understanding of how climate vulnerability and climate change will impact food security, nutrition and livelihoods in this country.
For today’s discussions, I would like to pose two challenges to our panelists and our audience in relation to the study that we will hear more about today.
First, how can we – government, development partners, sectoral groups – make better use of data to inform the design of appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies to address risks? As we have seen, the climate crisis can no longer be considered just as an anomaly in the future but should be regarded as challenges in the daily reality for vulnerable people, especially Filipino small-holder farmers and fisherfolk in the here and now. Climate shocks and stresses already threaten our lives, directly affect agricultural production, and impact livelihoods. What are the concrete ways that the analysis from this study, such as livelihood zone maps, be used to inform possible impact scenarios in rural and urban settings?
Second, how can we shift from recurrent crisis response to forward-looking climate risk management and develop proactive plans and programmes geared towards climate risk mitigation and adaptation options to help vulnerable communities cope with the increasing disastrous effects of climate change on food security and nutrition? Innovations, such as forecast-based anticipatory actions to avoid losses and damages from predictable climate hazards, are being scaled up. However, mitigating losses is not enough by itself to protect the most vulnerable populations from the rising climate-related risks and impacts they are bound to face in the coming decades. Solutions that address medium- to long-term climate risks are necessary to complement these innovations in disaster risk management and support longer-term agricultural adaptation programmes.
It is my hope that this discussion today will spark a multisectoral collaboration at the local and national level to form data driven policies and programmes for more resilient food systems, and climate-proof investments to mitigate the effects of climate change, protect the most vulnerable with safety nets against climate extremes and ensure that no Filipino is left behind. [Ends]