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‘More investment must be devoted to climate change adaptation,’ says IFAD’s Tawfiq El-Zabri

June 2021

UN Food Systems Summit 2021 | Independent Dialogue Series in Asia-Pacific

With the growing pace of economic and climate migration, Tawfiq El-Zabri says the costs of continuing with current food systems are too high 

In preparation for the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021 in September, the Independent Dialogue Series in Asia-Pacific opened to a robust discussion on Climate Change Adaptation from agriculture leaders and experts on Monday (7/6).

In his welcoming remarks, Tawfiq El-Zabri, the Country Director for the Pacific Islands at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said rural resilience is crucial to sustainable food systems while calling for more investment in climate adaptation.

“Enhancing the resilience of food systems and small-scale producers to climate change and other shocks including pest and disease outbreaks or market anomalies must be central to the food systems transformation agenda, with particular attention for vulnerable groups.”

“Small farms produce about a third of the world’s food and most of the developing world’s food, yet smallholder farms are receiving 1.7% of climate finance flows.”

“The overall pace  in environmental and earth system processes are changing at an unprecedented rate, and in the Pacific, agriculture is vulnerable to sea level rise as well as to increased intensity and frequency of extreme climate events including three major Category 5 severe tropical cyclones in the  last five years.”

“The costs of continuing with food systems as is are too high – and we can see that with the growing pace of economic and climate migration. More investment must be devoted to climate adaptation for small-scale agriculture, as well as for enhancing the resilience of rural economies and communities.”

Tawfiq El-Zabri told participants appropriate policies and investments, can allow small-scale agriculture to make significant contributions toward sustainable food production.

“Food systems that are built on the bedrock of prosperous and productive small-scale farms contribute to resilient and inclusive rural communities.”

“To ensure no-one is left behind, advancing women’s empowerment; ensuring equity in access to resources and financing; and redressing the marginalization of groups such as youth, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities need to be prioritized.”

“Small-scale farmers through their work and cultures are intimately connected to the natural environment, making them important custodians of biodiversity and ecosystems.”

Tawfiq El-Zabri acknowledged the Asian Farmers Association and the Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network for organizing the Asia-Pacific Dialogue in preparation for the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021 in September.

The Independent Dialogue Series in Asia-Pacific will conclude on Friday 11 June.

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