Food security and climate change
Undernourished women and children under 5 could increase by 20 percent
Interventions to address food and nutrition security
Mainstreaming climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in health and nutrition policies and interventions will help address food and nutrition security for millions.
Some of these interventions include:
Controlling food prices and volatility
Addressing food price volatility can improve food security. A key area for policy action at the country level is improving agricultural production and productivity of nutritious food, especially for smallholders.
These measures also need to create the enabling environment to encourage public and private investment in agriculture. Investments, in turn, will reduce price volatility and lower production costs, which will reduce food prices.
For example, Mexico implemented “contract agriculture” under which the buyer and the farmer agree a price. This market instrument brings certainty to future transactions, as the farmer has a prospective sale of its crop and the buyer has access to a safe supply source at a competitive and predetermined price.
It is also critical to develop nutrition surveillance at household and community levels to identify crises before they occur, and develop stronger resilience for communities at risk of food and nutrition insecurity.
Education has a powerful impact in preventing under nutrition. Combined efforts by all actors at the country level should focus on mainstreaming nutrition in education. Nutrition education efforts should promote knowledge of good nutrition, with a focus on the 1,000 day window from pregnancy to age 2, while encouraging the use of nutritious, climate-resilient food staples, in particular in those countries expected to be hit hardest by climate change. Better nutritional practices would, in turn, mean more effective use of available food.
For example, the Oportunidades program in Mexico, which combined nutritional education, cash transfers and the provision of fortified weaning food supplements, had an effect of over 1 cm in the height of infants who participated in the program during the first 2 years of life.
The Oportunidades program started over a decade ago. Some of its benefits on nutrition and health included a decrease of 11 and 2 percent in maternal deaths and infant mortality respectively.
The media also plays an important role in education. An assessment of a national mass-media campaign in Honduras reported that it increased exclusive breastfeeding from 48 to 70 percent at 1 month, from 24 to 31 percent at 4 months, and from 7 to 12 percent at 6 months of age.