Bringing nutrition back into climate change talks
The UN Standing Committee on Nutrition (SCN), a forum comprising UN agencies, NGOs and academics, has been running a campaign to influence negotiators ahead of the UN climate talks from 29 November to 10 December, in Cancun, Mexico.
The effort led by the UN SCN began at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, and members of the group have been attending conferences held by various sectors in the run-up to the Cancun meeting, reports IRIN. The UNSCN team lobbies to position nutrition according to the needs and interests of delegations at any conference.
Experts in delegations from the agriculture sector are told that when climate-tolerant crops are discussed in the adaptation track of the talks, they need to focus on policies and practices that encourage people to plant and breed hardier indigenous varieties, grow groundnuts and other foods for communities affected by HIV/Aids, or breed fish in backyard ponds for protein.
Several studies in the developing world have shown a strong relationship between the impact of natural hazards on food availability, and the subsequent effects on economic growth and the health of children. The UNSCN brief prepared for the negotiators at COP16 calls for a twin-track approach to ensure that food and nutrition security will help reduce vulnerability, and build resilience to cope with a changing climate.
One of the tracks will fall under the adaptation segment and push for scaling up nutrition-specific interventions and safety nets. The other track calls for a multi-sectoral approach that includes sustainable agriculture, health and social protection schemes, risk reduction and risk management plans, and climate-resilient community-based development. The brief also suggested that money to fund nutrition interventions, or technological innovations aimed at improving nutrition, should come out of the various climate funds under the UNFCCC.