New research from Food Tank, CARE International, and the Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) program showcases ways forward in cultivating equality in the food system. Climate change threatens to put hundreds of millions people – mostly women and children – at risk of hunger unless inequalities in the food system are tackled simultaneously with climate change.
Cultivating Equality: Delivering Just and Sustainable Food Systems in a Changing Climate, shows how inequality determines who eats first and who eats worst, and how this shapes people’s ability to adapt to climate change. Food Tank, CARE International and CCAFS argue that solutions around food production are not enough, and demand more dialogue and action to address inequality in food systems.
“The impacts of climate change are felt most by those least responsible for the problem and with the least capacity to adapt. Efforts to address hunger and malnutrition in the context of climate change must address inequality in food systems at all levels,” says Tonya Rawe, Senior Advisor for Policy and Research for CARE International. “As governments work to realise the targets of the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development, they must ensure that the needs, interests, and rights of women and small-scale food producers are not forgotten. The first step is to make sure we get a just climate change agreement from the UN climate talks in Paris this December.”
“Sustainability and equity must be the foundation for tackling climate change, hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. Women make up nearly 50 percent of farmers in developing regions of the world, and are responsible for almost 90 percent of food preparation in the household,” says Danielle Nierenberg, President of Food Tank. “But globally, only about 15 percent of all landholders are women. Their limited access to technology, financial resources, and land not only represents an unfair distribution of resources, but also limits agricultural productivity by suppressing the abilities of half the world’s farmers.”
“The needs of smallholder farmers, including women, need to be at the foundation of climate change solutions,” says Dr. Bruce Campbell, who leads the CCAFS program. “We know that new technologies and practices for tackling climate change will be adopted more successfully when they are appropriate to women’s interests, resources and demands. We should also recognise and support women’s capacity as farmers and innovators.”
The new report examines how well climate-smart agriculture, sustainable intensification, and agroecology address inequality and enable small-scale food producers and women to lift themselves out of poverty. Food Tank, CARE, and CCAFS offer guidance and recommendations on how to achieve food and nutrition security for all in a changing climate.