Caritas Calls for Urgent Action on Climate Change

Warns of Coming Hunger Crises

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 4, 2009 ( Caritas is sending a message to the United Nations, along with several humanitarian organizations, that «urgent action» is needed in order to prevent global hunger due to climate change.

A statement titled «Climate Change, Food Insecurity and Hunger» was directed toward participants in an upcoming U.N. meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The document was submitted by Caritas, along with the World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Oxfam, World Vision, Save the Children, and CARE.

It was addressed to the negotiators of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, who will meet Dec. 7 for a conference in Copenhagen.

This summit, which will last two weeks, «must be a start to improving food production, scaling up social protection systems, and preparing for disasters,» Caritas stated.

The aid agency reported that «climate change is undermining current efforts to end the suffering of over one billion people already affected by hunger.»

The lack of access to food is «the single largest contributor to the global burden of disease, killing 3.5 million people every year, almost all of them children in poor countries,» it affirmed.

Furthermore, Caritas warned, the risk of hunger «could increase by an unprecedented scale within the next decades.»

It stated, «By 2050, hunger could increase by 10 to 20 percent and child malnutrition is anticipated to be a fifth higher compared to a no-climate change scenario.»

More threats

The humanitarian organizations sent several key messages to those who are planning to meet in Copenhagen. Climate change, they said, will multiply «existing threats to food security.»

The statement called for «substantial increases in food production on the one hand, as well as improved access to adequate and nutritious food and capacities to cope with the risks posed by climate change on the other hand.»

It underlined the need of aiding governments in «enhancing food production and access, scaling up social protection systems and improving their ability to prepare for and respond to disasters.»

«Community-based development processes need to be fostered in order to enable the poorest and most vulnerable to build sustainable and climate resilient livelihoods and move out of chronic poverty and food insecurity,» the document affirmed.

It called on the humanitarian community to prepare for «more extreme weather events and protecting the already food insecure better by strengthening both crisis response and crisis prevention.»

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