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Cultivating equality: delivering just and sustainable food systems in a changing climate

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T
oday, the world faces a greater challenge perhaps than ever before:
tackling hunger and malnutrition in the face of climate change
and increasing natural resource scarcity. Civil society, governments,
researchers, donors, and the private sector are simultaneously debating
and collaborating to find solutions. But the dialogue is over-emphasizing
food production.
Improving yields is important, particularly in places where there is not
enough food or where food producers live in poverty. But simply producing
more is not enough to tackle hunger. Furthermore, acknowledging that
lack of food is not the sole cause of hunger is important. Inequality
shapes who has access to food and the resources to grow it and buy it.
It governs who eats first and who eats worst. Inequality determines who
can adapt more readily to a changing climate. Hunger and poverty are
not an accident – they are the result of social and economic injustice and
inequality at all levels, from household to global. The reality of inequality
is no truer for anyone than it is for women – half the world’s population,
with far less than their fair share of the world’s resources.
If we are to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goal of ending
hunger by 2030, we must address the underlying inequalities in food
systems. In a changing climate, agriculture and food systems must be
sustainable and productive – but our efforts cannot end there. They
must be profitable for those for whom it is a livelihood; they must be
equitable, to facilitate a level playing field in the market, to secure rights
to resources for food producers, and to ensure access to nutritious food for
all; they must be resilient to build the capacity of populations vulnerable
to economic shocks, political instability, and increasing, climate-induced
natural hazards to recover and still lift themselves out of poverty.

Citation

Rawe T, Deering K, Echols W, Nierenberg D, Nink E, Ahern C, Small S. 2015. Cultivating equality: delivering just and sustainable food systems in a changing climate. CARE, Food Tank.