18.104.22.168 Vulnerable rural populations
Climate change could have a range of adverse effects on some rural populations and regions, including increased food insecurity due to geographical shifts in optimum crop-growing conditions and yield changes in crops, reduced water resources for agriculture and human consumption, flood and storm damage, loss of cropping land through floods, droughts, a rise in sea level, and increased rates of climate-sensitive health outcomes. Water scarcity itself is associated with multiple adverse health outcomes, including diseases associated with water contaminated with faecal and other hazardous substances (including parasites), vector-borne diseases associated with water-storage systems, and malnutrition (see Chapter 3). Water scarcity constitutes a serious constraint to sustainable development particularly in savanna regions: these regions cover approximately 40% of the world land area (Rockstrom, 2003).
22.214.171.124 Food insecurity
Although the International Food Policy Research Institute’s International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade projects that global cereal production could increase by 56% between 1997 and 2050, primarily in temperate regions, and livestock production by 90% (Rosegrant and Cline, 2003), expert assessments of future food security are generally pessimistic over the medium term. There are indications that it will take approximately 35 additional years to reach the World Food Summit 2002 target of reducing world hunger by half by 2015 (Rosegrant and Cline, 2003; UN Millennium Project, 2005). Child malnutrition is projected to persist in regions of low-income countries, although the total global burden is expected to decline without considering the impact of climate change.
Attribution of current and future climate-change-related malnutrition burdens is problematic because the determinants of malnutrition are complex. Due to the very large number of people that may be affected, malnutrition linked to extreme climatic events may be one of the most important consequences of climate change. For example, climate change is projected to increase the percentage of the Malian population at risk of hunger from 34% to between 64% and 72% by the 2050s, although this could be substantially reduced by the effective implementation of a range of adaptive strategies (Butt et al., 2005). Climate-change models project that those likely to be adversely affected are the regions already most vulnerable to food insecurity, notably Africa, which may lose substantial agricultural land. Overall, climate change is projected to increase the number of people at risk of hunger (FAO, 2005).