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Global food security is declining as a result of climate change, and the availability of fresh water is under increasing pressure, according to the fifth report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Climate change is causing problems for agriculture, economic development and ecosystems. The Netherlands is facing an increased risk of salinisation of coastal areas due to sea-level rise and a greater threat of fresh water becoming scarce in the summer months. The result: damage to the country’s food production.
State Secretary Dijksma from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs says: “In 2050 we will have to feed nine billion people, that’s two billion more than today. Especially in view of the latest alarming figures from the IPCC, that will be a colossal challenge. Therefore, we need to make agriculture ‘climate smart’. This will enable us to capitalise on climate change and prevent the situation from worsening. In The Netherlands we are doing so by gaining experience of agriculture in saline areas, and in Africa by helping farmers by developing strong crops and a climate-resilient environment.”
The world’s oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic, and this is having an impact on biodiversity, fishing, coral and the vulnerability of coastlines. It is inevitable that some of the coral will disappear over time if the temperature of the oceans continues to rise. One fifth of all the coral globally – including coral in the Great Barrier Reef and in the Caribbean Netherlands – has already died off partly as a result of climate change. Projects have been set up in the Caribbean Netherlands aimed at slowing the decline of the coral there.
Together with the World Bank, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs is organising a conference from 22-25 April 2014 focused on the consequences of climate change and the contribution of the oceans to sustainable food supply in the future. Ecologically healthy oceans are essential. Representatives from 110 countries have reached agreement in Yokohama (Japan) on the outcomes of the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the effects of climate change and the opportunities for adaptations. This is the fifth time that the UN climate panel has issued such a report.