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Lunedì, 14 Marzo 2016 02:00

Video on Water Scarcity

Kopin, in collaboration with the Malta Water Association and Koperattiva Rurali Manikata, produced a short video on water scarcity in the framework of the ClimATE Change project.

Malta is currently experiencing one of its driest winters, with less than half the average yearly rainfall. Climate change is known to exacerbate drought, making adaptation a crucial requirement. 

This video looks into potential solutions to this life threatening problem.

Watch the video (in Maltese with English subtitles) here.

Martedì, 20 Ottobre 2015 02:00

Climate change and food systems

Global warming will have far reaching effects on where and how food is produced in the coming decades as well as on the nutritional properties of certain crops. All of this will have serious consequences for the global food trade and the fight against hunger and poverty in the world.

A group of scientists and economists have taken a closer look at the climate change impact on agriculture and food production on the global and regional levels over the past two decades. Their findings have been collected in the book "Climate Change and Food Systems", which was recently published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

"The growing threat of climate change to the global food supply, and the challenges it poses for food security and nutrition, requires urgent concerted policy responses," wrote FAO Deputy Director-General, Maria Helena Semedo, in her foreword to the publication. She also stressed the need for a "sharper focus on important drivers of climate adaptation, including the potential role of trade as a driver to mitigate some of the negative impact of climate on global food production."

Agriculture and food systems under pressure

Climate change is becoming an additional challenge in the context of the fast growing global demand for agricultural commodities for food, animal feed and fuel. This rapid demand increase can be attributed especially to the the population growth and rising income levels.

Agriculture depends greatly on the local weather conditions and for this reason is expected to be highly sensitive to climate change in the coming years. In particular, warmer and drier conditions in the areas nearer the equator will most likely lead to the reduction of the agricultural production in these regions. On the other hand, moderate warming might be beneficial, at least in the short term, to the crop production in other areas.

"Climate change is likely to exacerbate growing global inequality as the brunt of the negative climate effects is expected to fall on those countries that are least developed and most vulnerable," underlined the book's editor, Aziz Elbehri, of FAO's Trade and Markets Division.

The authors of the book examine, among other things, several actions aimed at climate change mitigation, which not infrequently might have hidden negative consequences. For example, current crop-based biofuels are on one hand a renewable energy source which can contribute to mitigating climate change, but at the same time the processes accompanying their production, such as deforestation, can further intensify carbon dioxide emissions.

Threats to nutrition, health and water resources

The book underlines also the potential negative impact of climate change on health and nutrition by aggravating the prevalence of so-called hidden hunger - the chronic lack of vitamins and minerals - as well as obesity. Research shows that higher concentration of carbon dioxide - the main greenhouse gas emitted due to human activity - lowers the amount of iron, zinc and protein and increases the sugar and starch content in some of the world's key food crops such as rice and wheat. These changes could have significant nutrition consequences. In India, for example, where up to a third of the population in rural areas is at risk of not eating enough protein with their food, higher protein deficit in the cultivated crops could have substantial health implications.

The book authors also point out to the fact that in many regions of the world growing water scarcity caused by climate change will lead to the reduction of the capacity to produce food, which could have grave consequences for food security and health. They cite latest research assessing the global impact of diet change on water consumption in food production. Certain results suggest that reducing the amount of animal products in human diets could potentially allow to save the water resources up to the amount needed to feed 1.8 billion people in the world.

Trade and dialogue

The publication cites studies showing that in the context of the changing climate international trade will probably expand. Trade flows will likely increase from mid and high latitudes towards low-latitude regions, where food production and export potential will decrease. At the same time, growing frequency of extreme weather events, such as cyclones and droughts, could have adverse consequences on trade by disrupting supply chains, transportation and logistics.

The book authors indicate that even though global markets can help stabilize food supplies as well as prices and provide alternative sources of food for regions experiencing adverse consequences of climate change, trade alone would not suffice as an adaptation strategy. What is also essential are local strategies which will allow countries and regions avoid over-dependence on imports leading to increased vulnerability to price volatility.

The need to align trade policies with climate objectives is another challenge. It has to be ensured that trade plays its role as an adaptation mechanism without impending at the same time the implementation of activities aimed at the climate change mitigation.

The publication calls for a "structured dialogue" involving all interested parties, including policy makers, scientists, representatives of civil society as well as private sector. The goal of the dialogue should be to assess and verify global, regional and local consequences of climate change in order to assist in formulation and implementation of appropriate climate change policies. This dialogue could take the form of a special forum which would support policy processes and initiatives aimed at securing global food security and provide the best scientific evidence on the impacts of climate change on various levels.

The book "Climate change and food systems" can be downloaded here.

Source: FAO

Photo credit: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank (Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Water Council (WWC) warn that by 2050 the access to water in many regions of the world could be significantly reduced which would threaten food security and livelihoods of a big number of people. In the face of these predictions it is essential to change policies and increase necessary investments, including climate change adaptation measures.

Even though it is estimated that in 2050 world water resources will remain sufficient for the global population, which is supposed to reach 9 billion people by then, the continuing overconsumption, environmental degradation and the impact of climate change will lead to problems with the access to water in many of the planet's poorest regions. This is the main conclusion of the new report prepared by FAO and WWC. The document, titled "Towards a water and food secure future”, was presented in April this year in Daegu and Gyeongbuk in the South Korea during the VII World Water Forum, which is the largest international event aimed at finding joint solutions to the main water challenges in the world.

The authors of the report call on the international community to implement appropriate policies and investments, both by the public and private sectors, to ensure sustainable food production which would also allow to protect water resources. Without such actions, the efforts aimed at reducing poverty, increasing incomes and ensuring food security for the millions of people in the global South countries will become increasingly difficult.

"Food and water security are inextricably linked. We believe that by developing local approaches and making the right investments, world leaders can ensure that there will be sufficient water volume, quality and access to meet food security in 2050 and beyond," said Benedito Braga, President of the World Water Council, on the occasion of the launching of the paper. "Agriculture has to follow the path of sustainability and not the one of immediate profitability," added Braga.

"In an era of accelerated changes unparalleled to any in our past, our ability to provide adequate, safe and nutritious food sustainably and equitably is more relevant than ever. Water, as an irreplaceable element of achieving this end, is already under pressure by increasing demands from other uses, exacerbated by weak governance, inadequate capacities, and underinvestment," pointed out FAO Deputy Director-General Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo. "This is an opportune time to re-visit our public policies, investment frameworks, governance structures and institutions. We are entering the post-2015 development era and we should mark it with solid commitments," she added.

Water and agriculture

According to FAO estimates, by 2050 around 60 percent more food - and even up to 100 percent in the global South countries - will be needed to feed the world. This means added pressure on the water supplies which will be required be the world's agriculture in order to meet the growing demand for food. Already now agriculture is the largest user of water globally, accounting in many countries for around two-thirds or more of the water supplies drawn from rivers, lakes and aquifers.

Even with growing urbanization, in 2050 much of the global population and most of the poor will continue to earn their living in agriculture. Yet, as the report notes, the agricultural sector will face the reduction of the available water due to a competing demand from industry and cities. In these circumstances, farmers, and especially smallholders, will have to find new ways to increase their output using limited land and water resources.

Currently, water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of people in the world and this proportion is likely to increase to two thirds by 2050. This is largely due to overconsumption of water in agriculture. For example in large areas of South and East Asia, in the Near East, North Africa and North and Central America, more groundwater is already used than can be replenished naturally. Additionally, in some regions intensive agriculture, industrial development and expanding cities are responsible for polluting water sources.

Policy changes and new investments

As underlined by FAO and WWC, changing the situation is still possible. In their report they call on governments to help farmers so that they could boost food production using increasingly limited water resources and better manage risks connected with water scarcity. All this will require a combination of public and private investments as well as providing farmers with the necessary knowledge.

It is essential also to solve numerous problems connected with the degradation and waste of water resources. Additionally, the water rights must be allocated in just and inclusive ways. The report highlights in particular the need to guarantee farmers with the access to land and water as well as financial resources in ways which enhance the role of women, who in Africa and Asia are responsible for a big part of the agricultural production.

Addressing climate change

The authors of the document warn that the consequences of climate change, including unusual rainfall and temperature patterns as well as more frequent extreme weather events, such as droughts and cyclones, will have a growing impact on agriculture and especially water resources.

Mountain regions provide up to 80 percent of global water supplies, but the ongoing retreat of glaciers due to changing climate threatens the existence of those resources in the future. Forests, on the other hand, not only use water but also provide it - at least one third of the world's largest cities draw a big portion of their drinking water from forested areas. This shows how important it is to increase efforts to protect forested and mountain areas where the majority of the world's freshwater supplies originates.

The report calls for the implementation of policies and investments aimed at enhancing climate change adaptation both at the watershed and households levels. This includes, among other things, improving water storage infrastructure, increasing water capture and reuse as well as expanding research which can help small-scale farmers build more resilient food production systems.

The full document is available here.

Source: UN

Photo credit: Gerardo Pesantez / World Bank (Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

One of the presentations delivered by Daniel Grech from the MCAST Agribusiness Institute during free course for farmers held in Malta on the 23rd of April 2015, as part of the ClimATE Change project.

To download it, click on the link on your left.

Martedì, 02 Giugno 2015 02:00

Reducing water demand – Irrigation methods

One of the presentations used by Daniel Grech from the MCAST Agribusiness Institute during free course for farmers held in Malta on the 23rd of April 2015, as part of the ClimATE Change project.

To download it, click on the link on your left.

In the months of March and April 2015 KOPIN is organising a training course for farmers and all those interested in issues related to climate change and sustainable agriculture. In four sessions, experts in the fields of pests and diseases, water management and soil and nutrients will present the challenges posed by climate change on the one hand, and suggest possible solutions on the other. The course is part of the EU co-funded project ClimATE Change and will be implemented with our partner Koperattiva Rurali Manikata.

This course seeks to address everyday challenges faced in Maltese fields, particularly in the context of the islands’ already severe water scarcity that is expected to intensify as a result of climate change. It also aims to inform farmers (both professional and amateur) about the impact extreme weather episodes could have on the Mediterranean region and how one can adapt to them.

Our first speaker, who opened the course on 10th March, was Dr. Antoine Vella, an expert in pests and diseases with a long career at the University of Malta. Mr. Malcolm Borg, lecturer at the MCAST Agribusiness Institute, who specialises in water management, will facilitate the sessions on 24th March and 23rd April. Horticulturalist Dione Caruana will address the vast topic of soils and nutrients on 14th April. All sessions will start at 6pm and end at 8pm in the Parish Hall of Burmarrad. Participation is free of charge. Refreshments will be provided.

More information on this course as well as a detailed programme can be found on the Facebook invite under KORS B’XEJN GHALL-BDIEWA – FREE COURSE FOR FARMERS.


Contribution written by Robert Kuenzl

Giovedì, 24 Luglio 2014 00:00

Climate Change Adaptation Measures in Malta

Presentation delivered by hydrologist Marco Cremona during the Workshop on Climate Change and Agriculture organised by KOPIN Malta on the 19th of May 2014.

You can download it simply by clicking on the link on the left.

Giovedì, 24 Luglio 2014 00:00

Water in Malta

Presentation delivered by hydrologist Marco Cremona during the Workshop on Climate Change and Agriculture organised by KOPIN Malta on the 19th of May 2014.

You can download it directly by clicking on the link on the left.

Did you know that 13 of Malta’s 15 aquifers are too polluted to be used? How is the EU funding sustainable agriculture? How easy is it for our farmers to go organic? How does permaculture preserve soil and water? Which technologies can be exploited to better manage natural resources? How is Malta planning to adapt to scenarios of increased drought? 

These are some of the questions that were addressed on 19 and 20 May 2014 during the workshops KOPIN organised in the framework of the project ClimATE Change.

The workshops entitled “Climate change and agriculture in Malta: Adapting through the sustainable use of resources” brought together stakeholders from government, private, academic and non-governmental sectors. 

The first workshop was aimed at professionals of the farming sector and tackled issues such as water scarcity, the EU’s rural development plan and the shift to organic farming. The second workshop targeted students and their institutions. Here speakers addressed themes such as permaculture approaches, adaptation strategies, innovative technology and research on the perception of local farmers with regard to climate change. 

KOPIN also presented research carried out by the organisation itself and its international partners in Ethiopia and Nicaragua.

The workshops, facilitated by environmental expert and activist Eric Van Monckhoven, were well attended and gave rise to lively debates. 

Presentation delivered by Malcolm Borg from the MCAST Agribusiness Institute during the Dialogue-oriented Workshop held in Malta on the 20th of May 2014, as part of the ClimATE Change project.

To download it, click on the link on your left.

ordinazione cialis generico farmacia online, Salerno