WFP STUDY PROVIDES FIRST-EVER LOOK AT THE LINKS BETWEEN CLIMATE CHANGE AND FOOD SECURITY IN THE PHILIPPINES

Philippines, Tacloban, 14 November 2013 In the Photo: two little girls eating WFP biscuits distributed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) at Tacloban airport in the Philippines. The family were among people waiting to be evacuated from the disaster zone. WFP’s top officials in the Philippines have described the damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan as devastating and are appealing for support to help meet the needs of people made homeless by the 300-km/h winds and torrential rain. “The devastation we saw in Tacloban today was shocking,” said WFP Representative and Country Director Praveen Agrawal. “People have lost their homes and livelihoods, and the damage to infrastructure is substantial. Our thoughts are with the families affected by this terrible storm, and WFP is ready to assist in any way it can.” WFP has mobilised an immediate US$2 million for the response, but will be appealing for more funds as the needs become clearer. As a preliminary measure, 40 metric tons of fortified biscuits are due to be flown in from UNHRD Dubai warehouse in the coming days. This is the equivalent of 4000 boxes or 400,000 packs of biscuits. High Energy Biscuits are often provided in the early days of a crisis as they are light to transport and do not need cooking. Photo: WFP/Marco Frattini

Two girls eat WFP biscuits at the Tacloban airport. The children and their families
were among those who were evacuated from the disaster zones caused by Super-Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan),
when it hit on 08 November 2013. Yolanda was one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded that took the lives of
more than 6,000 people and caused billions of pesos in damages. © WFP/Marco Frattini

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today unveiled its Climate Change and Food Security Analysis (CCFSA) study in the Philippines. This study analyzes the interconnectedness of climate change and food security in the country, particularly the threats and the opportunities it presents to food, nutrition, and livelihoods in rural and urban areas.

The study was launched at a high-level meeting with the Government, private sector, and development partners, coinciding with the final day of the world’s global climate summit – COP 26 – in Glasgow. In a first for the country, the study presents a set of scenarios of possible climate change impacts over time, in 2030, 2050, 2070, and 2090. Information and model situations particularly on food production, accessibility, supply stability, utilization, and consumption patterns, and identify the agricultural livelihoods that could be most impacted by climate change, to what extent, and where.

The study points out that coastal communities dependent on fisheries and aquaculture – like those in Visayas and Mindanao – are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels, storm surges, and saltwater intrusions, that can lead to the destruction of aquatic resources on which communities’ livelihoods depend.

Furthermore, in-land rice production areas in Mindanao may face issues in finding crops suitable to the changing weather patterns due to a high risk of drought. Meanwhile, in Luzon for example, selected provinces in urban zones are projected to be affected by prolonged rainfall, including Isabela, Pasil, Kalinga, Cagayan, resulting in destructive flooding.

Pasture and livestock livelihoods are also at risk due to projected ambient temperatures of 30 °C or more by 2050, which could cause heat stress and other climate-related hazards to livestock in the provinces of Apayao, Abra, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Benguet, and Nueva Vizcaya.

Nearly 10 million Filipinos work in the agriculture sector, which in turn provides food for the population of more than 109 million Filipinos. Yet, the impact of climate change on agriculture is devastating. Past studies have shown that the Philippines incurred Php 463 billion in damages due to extreme weather events over the past decade – 62.7 percent of which – or Php 290 billion – were damages caused to the agriculture sector.

“The agriculture sector is at the forefront of the climate crisis and farmers and fishers need urgent support. We need to get ahead of climate change by acting collectively to protect the lives and livelihoods of farmers and millions of others who work in the sector. By supporting them, we contribute to better food security for all Filipinos,” said WFP Representative and Country Director, Brenda Barton.

The study uses WFP’s Consolidated Livelihood Exercise for Analysing Resilience (CLEAR) methodology to help predict the effect of climate change on livelihoods and food security. With the findings of the study, WFP aims to work with the Philippines Government and partners to identify and develop the most appropriate policies and programmes to prepare for climate risks and disasters and respond to long-term climate change effects.

“As more sectors have access to this study, it is WFP’s aim that more multi-sectoral interventions aimed at promoting climate change adaptation and livelihood resilience are developed and prioritized,” added Barton.

Today’s high-level meeting opened with a panel discussion featuring the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, Gustavo Gonzalez, and was moderated by UN Environment Programme National Goodwill Ambassador for the Philippines, Antoinette Taus. Other panellists included Dir. Janet Armas from the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development; Dr. Saturnina Halos, Biotechnology Advisory Team Chair of the Dept. of Agriculture; Dr. Susan Mercado from the National Panel of Experts of the Climate Change Commission; Programme Officer Arlynn Aquino, Directorate-General for the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO); Ms. Cherrie Atilano, President and Founding Farmer of AGREA Philippines; and Ms. Ruth Honculada-Georget, National Social Protection Consultant of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Philippines.

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