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Food security and climate change in the Pacific: rethinking the options

Publication date:
M. Ahmed (ed)
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The Pacific island governments view climate change as a priority issue, especially in terms of its potential impacts on food security, but need clear directions in addressing both issues. Their agricultural production until the mid-1990s, has been stagnant for the last 45 years, and per capita agricultural production has declined in all countries. This report examines the issues of food security and climate change in the Pacific and the contributing factors based on the Pacific food security framework. It suggests focal areas of assistance for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other donors for improving food security in Pacific countries.The report delves into the following issues pertaining to the Pacific Developing Member Countries (DMCs):

the current status and factors of food security
climate change threats and impacts on food security
rethinking the options
implications for ADB assistance.

The report states that pathways to achieve food security in the Pacific will involve the following:

productivity enhancement and economic growth – an important cornerstone to improving food security
harnessing the benefits of building climate resilience in cross-sectoral infrastructure development that enhances growth, productivity, trade, and distribution
strategies and programmes that hinge upon improving information, education, and communication
effective disaster management and emergency response systems.

The paper highlights the following implications for ADB assistance which will call for:

investments to develop and manage climate-resilient food production systems, infrastructure, and environmental and regulatory measures
capacity development to enable mainstreaming of food security and climate change into national development plans and programmes
providing sustained long-term financing, in coordination with other development partners.

The publication observes that most of the development partners are seeking to remedy the food security situation by bolstering economic growth. It advises that a fundamental aspect of ADB assistance should be improving the coordination of development partner response and helping make global funds readily accessible for Pacific countries. This can be accomplished through a programmatic approach that will help the countries reduce their vulnerability to the impacts and consequences of climate change and pursue a more food secure future.