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The perspective of the International Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHAF)

by Nikos Salapataras Chairman of the International Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHAF) Chairman of Salas Group.

Resilience in times of humanitarian crises: The linkages between food security, migration and sustainable development

The Rome Declaration on World Food Security in 1996 defined its three basic dimensions: availability, accessibility and utilization, with a focus on nutritional well-being. It also stressed the importance of sustainable management of natural resources and the elimination of unsustainable patterns of food consumption and production. More recently, intergovernmental processes have emphasized the importance of sustainability to preserve the environment, natural resources and agro-ecosystems (and thus the overlying social system), as well as the importance of food security as part of sustainability and vice versa. The relationship between food security and migration can be direct, when people do not see viable options other than migrating to escape hunger. In the past century, we have experienced significant environmental changes, including changes in climatic conditions, land degradation and the degradation of coastal and marine ecosystems. Climate is changing and the impact is realized at multiple dimensions: sea level rise, changes in tropical storm and cyclone frequency or intensity, changes in rainfall patterns, causing droughts and floods, and increases in average temperature regimes. The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change projects that these impacts will become more frequent and more intense as the twenty-first century progresses Addressing the environmental drivers of migration is all the more urgent in regions, where climate change plays a significant and increasingly determinant role in economic activities and livelihoods, especially in agriculture. An analysis of climate risks for crops in food-insecure regions, based on statistical crop models and climate projections for 2030, indicates that South Asia and Southern Africa – both home to poor and highly vulnerable population groups – without sufficient adaptation measures, will likely suffer negative impacts on the production of crops that are important to large food-insecure populations. In this framework, food security imposes a dual challenge in times of humanitarian crises,especial for the Mediterranean region which is severely affected both by migration flows as well as the severe effects of climate change.

Sustainability should be considered as part of the longterm time dimension in the assessment of food security. From such a perspective the concept of sustainable diets can play a key role as a goal and a way of maintaining nutritional well-being and health, while ensuring the sustainability for future food security. Without integrating sustainability as an explicit dimension of food security, today’s policies and programmes could become the very cause of increased food insecurity in the future. At a time that one in nine people globally is still going to bed hungry due to conflicts, famine, climate change and pandemics, the International Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHAF) focuses on preventing and alleviating human suffering, thereby contributing to the maintenance and promotion of human dignity and peace in the world. These small but significant steps, contribute constructively to the promotion of good and sustainable nutrition, laying the foundation for a more prosperous future for millions.

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