A leading member of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has stressed the importance of agricultural investment in tackling climate change.
Maria-Helena Semedo, deputy director general for natural resources at the FAO, said that agriculture can play a vital role in fighting the impact of climate change. Semedo also said agriculture can boost efforts to tackle rising global temperatures, in addition to reducing poverty and hunger across the world.
Semedo made her comments at the High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the UN headquarters in New York. The FAO deputy director-general was also at the event to witness the signing ceremony for the historic Paris Climate Change Agreement, which was signed by 175 countries to ensure the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the impacts of climate change.
The agreement also threw a spotlight on the need to increase the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience in a manner that does not threaten food production.
During her speech, Semedo said that agriculture was one of the main areas of the economy that would be impacted by climate change events, known as the El Niño phenomenon. It is estimated that around 60 million people across the globe are being adversely affected by El Niño events.
The FAO deputy director-general also highlighted the crucial role played by family farmers and other small hold agricultural businesses in tackling the causes of poverty. She encouraged further investment into these farming companies to help eradicate malnutrition by 2030.
"Nearly 80 percent of the extreme poor and hungry people live in rural areas, so let's empower rural actors, small holders, rural women, youth and indigenous peoples in our collective action," said Semedo.
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