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United Nations food security expert: Climate change could worsen hunger in some regions

2015-06-23

Earlier this month, Pope Francis gave a wide-ranging address to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

POPE FRANCIS
June 11, 2015
"Before the misery of so many of our brothers and sisters, sometimes I think the issue of hunger and agricultural development has turned into one of the many problems that have emerged in this time of crisis.”

Indeed, food insecurity is one of the great challenges of contemporary times. According to a new report from FAO, about 800 million people still go hungry. That averages to about one out of every nine humans on Earth.

According to a United Nations economist, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are among the worst hit. 

PIERO CONFORTI
Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN
"They live mostly in what we call developing regions. And there are some regions where you see countries in production crises. Countries in which natural disasters or man-made disasters are provoking huge difficulties for most people to get access to an adequate diet and enough food.” 

In his encyclical "Laudato Si,” the Pope discusses how climate change can damage food chains and worsen hunger. The poorest members of society will be the ones who are least able to cope with the changes.

PIERO CONFORTI
Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN
"Climate change is a topic on which there are so many studies and a lot of evidence is piling up. What we understand is that likely the countries that are going to be most affected are those of the tropical and subtropical areas. And these are also the areas where we record higher undernourishment and a higher number of hungry people. That's why we think that climate change, in perspective, might worsen the situation in certain countries.”

While there is cause for concern, there is also reason to be optimistic. According to FAO's "The State of Food Insecurity in the World” report, the number of people going hungry has decreased by more than 200 million since 1990.
However, Conforti said that with the ultimate goal being the total eradication of hunger, there is a long way to go.


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