Sustainable agriculture can mitigate climate change and involuntary migration
Climate change poses a major risk for rural people in developing countries, often leading to distress-driven migration, and bolstering sustainable agriculture is an essential part of an effective policy response, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said today.
Citing figures showing that since 2008 one person has been displaced every second by climate and weather disasters - an average of 26 million a year - and suggesting the trend is likely to intensify in the immediate future as rural areas struggle to cope with warmer weather and more erratic rainfall, he said the "solution to this great challenge" lies in bolstering the economic activities that the vast majority of rural populations are already engaged in.
Graziano da Silva and William Lacy Swing, Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), spoke at a meeting during FAO's Conference.
"Although less visible than extreme events like a hurricane, slow-onset climate change events tend to have a much greater impact over time," Swing said, citing the drying up over 30 years of Lake Chad, now a food crisis hotspot. "Many migrants will come from rural areas, with a potentially major impact on agricultural production and food prices."