Rising displacement due to disasters fuelling more conflicts
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has said that climate change would push 100 million people into the abyss of poverty by 2030. Close to half of these would be due to climate change’s impacts on agriculture.
Global development and government representatives from across the world made an appeal to urgently spend more on rural development to avoid a catastrophic situation arising out of the climate emergency during IFAD’s 43rd Governing Council meeting in Rome.
“Climate change’s impacts on agriculture are exacerbating existing conflicts and have the potential to cause new conflicts around the world as resources become more limited,” Esther Penunia, secretary general of the Asian Farmers’ Association, who attended the Fund’s meeting, said.
In 2018, 90 per cent of 17.2 million people displaced by disasters were due to weather and climate-related events.
In Africa alone, conflicts have risen by 36 per cent between 2018 and 2019. “This has contributed to an increase in hunger and poverty,” a statement from IFAD, said.
“Conflict stops agricultural production and stops millions of people lifting themselves out of poverty,” Josefa Sacko, ambassador and commissioner for rural economy and agriculture, speaking on behalf of the African Union Commission, said.
She added the role of climate change to this. “Increase in poverty due to conflicts is compounded by natural disasters, like the current scourge of locusts destroying crops in East Africa and a changing climate that threatens African food systems and is the driving force behind migration and conflict.”
The Governing Council of IFAD has appealed for more investment in rural development to mitigate this precipitating crisis. “We all agree on the severity of the situation and that there is no time to lose. We need to scale up our actions and leverage our resources in order to eliminate poverty and hunger,” Gilbert F Houngbo, president of IFAD, said.
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