GAIN Chief Scientist Dr. Ian Noble was featured in the second quarter edition of Children’s Future, a Swedish magazine dedicated to covering global outlook and development.
See below for the English translation of the article:
Climate change has already increased the risk of hunger, malnutrition and food shortages among the world’s poor. According to Global Adaptation Institute, Africa is the continent most vulnerable.
Climate change is expected to have a major impact on food security in poor countries. When the volatility in the weather becomes larger and more unpredictable it affects farmers with small margins.
Extreme weather events are becoming more common. The poor peasants who have just planted their crops and can be affected by an unusually dry or wet period, lack of resources to it, said Ian Noble, Chief Scientist at the Global Adaptation Institute (GAIN), an environmental organization that works to raise awareness of climate change and adaptation challenges. GAIN has developed a GAIN Index, where they rank the countries most vulnerable to climate change based on the same perspectives – such as access to food and access to clean water (see graphics). The vulnerability is calculated by looking both at how the countries are affected by climate change and what capacity they have to handle the situation. The most vulnerable countries are in Africa.
Africa is the continent where the poorest live. In addition, parts of Africa are very vulnerable to climate changes, especially those that are at the edge of the desert. People can farm, but it is dry and some years it doesn’t rain at all. As climate change challenges heighten, it is becoming more desert-like, said Ian Noble.
In order to prevent food and water from being affected, GAIN recommends larger investments in drought-resistant crops, water irrigation systems and technology.
These locations experience climate change the most severely:
Lack of water
2 Sierra Leone
The index takes into changes in precipitation and temperature, the proportion of the population with access to toilets and safe drinking water and how many people die of waterborne diseases.
Lack of food
1 Central African Republic
The index takes into how to develop agriculture, the proportion of children who are malnourished, the proportion of the population living in rural areas and how climate change is expected to affect crop sizes.
See world graphic:
Suitable Surface for agriculture
Only 14 percent of Mali’s surface is suitable for agriculture.
Even so, 75 percent of the population is dependent on agriculture. In the future, Mali’s climate will become drier and warmer, and precipitation could decrease by up to 30 percent over the months when most crops grow.
Increased temperature and reduced rainfall in Sierra Leone has reduced groundwater and evaporated rivers during dry season. The civil war destroyed much of the infrastructure for water and rural populations that depend on water from rivers.Only a third of people have access to clean water.
Food from Agriculture
85 percent of Angola’s population lives on food grown in the country, but climate change leads to a shorter growing season in the southern and western parts of the country and also increased drought in desert areas.
Afghanistan has a dry climate and population is highly dependent on regular rains. Due to climate change, droughts become more intense and the country’s water resources have been severely affected. Only half of the population has access to clean drinking water and many children die of diarrheal diseases.
Number of victims of natural disasters
(zoomed-in on graph within map)
Ethiopia’s climate is characterized by extreme variability and rainfall is very unpredictable. For the past 30 years, the country suffered seven major drought periods, of which five have led to starvation. Climate change is expected to result in even greater variability in rainfall and reduce the availability of clean drinking water.
Central African Republic
Climate change has resulted in shorter rainy season which complicates life for the peasants.
Three quarters of the population in the Central African Republic is engaged in agriculture or raising livestock for food. The fertile soil yields are small and the majority of rural dwellers live in extreme poverty, which adds to the reason why 44 percent of the population suffers from malnutrition.