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16 October 2013

 

Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition

Weather and climate services are essential for sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition – the theme of this year’s World Food Day which aims at increasing understanding of problems and solutions in the drive to end hunger.

Today almost 842 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). At the same time, enormous amounts of food are wasted, Unsustainable models of development are degrading the natural environment, threatening ecosystems that will be needed for future food supply. Agriculture is especially vulnerable to natural hazards like heat waves, droughts, heavy precipitation and floods and climate change is expected to exacerbate the challenges.

National Meteorological and Hydrological Services will play a fundamental role in helping the agriculture sector, including the estimated 450 million smallholder farms, to meet demands which include: producing more and higher quality food while using less water per unit of output; protecting the health of the ecosystem; and, contributing in a productive way to agricultural and economic sustainability.

Farmers will increasingly need to increase productivity through optimal weather, climate and water information. In many countries, the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), in partnership with academic and private sector providers, offer a wide range of advisory services. These include historical climate data and products; current information and forecasts on weather, climate, air quality, water levels etc; warning services and - increasingly - projections of future human-induced climate change.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and its partners are working to build the capacity of NMHSs in developing countries to deliver timely and relevant weather and climate services for the farming community, and to empower farmers to use these services.

Agriculture and food security are one of the priority areas of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GCFS) spearheaded by WMO in partnership with FAO, the World Food Programme (WFP) and other organizations. One of the aims of this initiative is to provide farmers with more accurate weather forecasts, better historical climate data, as well as monthly to seasonal climate forecasts that will assist in increasing food security

In parallel, WMO is working to promote forward-looking integrated drought and flood management policies to manage and minimize the risks of these natural hazards which impact on food security. WMO and its Members will continue to contribute to the goal of Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.

 

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