Global food security is a core concern among the different impacts of climate change. The expected increases in temperature and changes in the hydrological cycle – changing rainfall patterns and regional water availability, greater variability, and more frequent as well as more intense floods and droughts – are likely to have significant impacts on agricultural output. Furthermore, such changes also risk undermining food security through their impacts on livelihoods, infrastructure and political stability. Coupled with the expectation of greatly increasing global food demand due to demographic growth and the changing diets that come with an expanding global middle class, this raises the spectre of increasing food insecurity.
The elementary importance of food security for human welfare, coupled with the inherent connections between climate change and food availability and prices, make global food governance an important topic for climate diplomacy. Some of the crucial linkages include:
Given these links, food security is becoming an increasingly prominent feature of climate diplomacy. The Center for Naval Analysis developed and carried out the project Food Chain Reaction, a simulation and role-playing exercise intended to improve understanding of how governments, institutions and private-sector interests might interact to address a crisis in the global food system. Based on these insights, and with Foreign Office support and participation, adelphi and the Center for American Progress organised several events around disseminating and discussing the resulting challenges for global governance on both sides of the Atlantic. The German Permanent Representation to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in Rome also organised Climate and Food Talks on these challenges. adelphi and the Center for American Progress published an issue brief entitled Supporting Global Food Security in a Changing Climate through Transatlantic Cooperation (2016).