FAO Reports Address Impact of Water Stress, Disasters on Agriculture and Migration
Peter Luethi, Biovision Foundation
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From 2005 to 2015, natural disasters cost the agricultural sectors of developing country economies $96 billion in damaged or lost crop and livestock production, according to a FAO report titled, ‘The Impact of Disasters and Crises on Agriculture and Food Security’.

A second report, titled ‘Water stress and human migration: a global, georeferenced review of empirical research,’ maps and analyzes 184 peer-reviewed, empirical research articles on the links between water stress and human migration.

20 March 2018: From 2005 to 2015, natural disasters cost the agricultural sectors of developing country economies $96 billion in damaged or lost crop and livestock production, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO). The report titled, ‘The Impact of Disasters and Crises on Agriculture and Food Security,’ points out that more than half of this damage and loss occurred in Asia.

Speaking on the report’s findings, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva highlighted the importance of integrating disaster risk reduction (DRR) and management into modern agriculture, a move that is also key to ensuring sustainable development. The publication opens with an introduction on agriculture in an uncertain environment, and thereafter is divided into four parts. Part one discusses the impacts of disasters on agriculture, while the next section focuses on estimating damage and loss. The third part investigates food chain crises and conflict. The report concludes with a presentation of the way forward, on how to inform agriculture DRR policy.

The report coincides with another FAO publication released in partnership with the Global Water Partnership (GWP), and Oregon State University (US) that looks into the relationship of water stress and migration, as well as the implications of water stress on agriculture adaptation strategies. Titled, ‘Water stress and human migration: a global, georeferenced review of empirical research,’ the report maps and analyzes 184 peer-reviewed, empirical research articles to better understand how and if water relates to migration.

Agricultural adaptation strategies affect people’s need to migrate.

The report concludes that “agricultural adaptation strategies affect people’s need to migrate and should be explicitly incorporated in the respective policies, including in climate change adaptation.” More generally, it points out that migration is common, even in the absence of water stress, and that more information is needed, especially with areas such as Central Asia, the Middle East and the Central Sahel expected to experience increased water scarcity.

Both reports have been released as the UN readies to observed World Water Day on 22 March and launch the ‘International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development 2018-2028.’ [Publication: Water Stress and Human Migration: A Global, Georeferenced Review of Empirical Research] [FAO Press Release on Water Report] [FAO Press Release on Agriculture and Disasters Report] [Publication: The Impact of Disasters and Crises on Agriculture and Food Security] [UNFCCC Press Release]


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