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High-Level Panel Releases Recommendations To Address Food Security, Climate Change In Anticipation Of U.N. Meeting

In advance of a U.N. climate change conference this month in Durban, South Africa, the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, a high-level international panel, on Wednesday announced its recommendations (.pdf) for achieving food security while addressing the effects of climate change, VOA News reports. The panel, which includes scientists from 13 countries who are experts in agriculture, climate, economics, trade, nutrition and ecology, “spent the past year analyzing many climate studies — a year that included climbing food prices, humanitarian disasters and political unrest — all of which, it says, threaten food security,” VOA writes (DeCapua, 11/16). “The seven high-level recommendations include significantly raising the level of global investment in sustainable agriculture and food systems in the next decade; sustainably intensifying agricultural production on the existing land base while reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and reducing losses and waste in the food system,” a commission press release states (11/16).

Cholera Outbreak Hits Kenya’s Largest Refugee Camp

“Cholera has broken out in the world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya, home to nearly 500,000 Somali refugees, the United Nations said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports (Nebehay, 11/15). “There are now 60 cases of cholera in [Kenya’s Dadaab complex], including 10 laboratory-confirmed cases and one refugee death, according to Andrej Mahecic, a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),” the U.N. News Centre writes.

Health Of Millions Of Children In East Asia, Pacific At Risk Due To Climate Change, UNICEF Report Says

“Climate change is expected to worsen the plight of millions of children in East Asia and the Pacific who already lack food and clean water and are vulnerable to disease, … UNICEF said Monday … in its report (.pdf) ‘Children’s vulnerabilities to climate change and disaster impacts in East Asia and the Pacific,'” AlertNet reports. “‘Higher temperatures have been linked to increased rates of malnutrition, cholera, diarrheal disease and vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria,’ putting children at far greater risk of contracting these diseases and succumbing to their complications, the report said,” the news service writes.

Former U.N. SG Annan Criticizes G20 For Not Taking More Action On Climate Change That Affects Food Security

Speaking at the launch of Stanford University’s Center for Food Security and the Environment at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies on Thursday, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan “criticized world leaders … for failing to take bold action on climate change, which he said threatens to worsen the food crisis that has already left a billion people hungry,” ABC News reports. “Failing to address the problem will have repercussions on health, security and stability, he warned,” the news service writes. He “praised ‘Feed the Future,’ the U.S. initiative to reduce poverty and under-nutrition, and said he met recently with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and [USAID Administrator] Raj Shah,” ABC News writes. Annan said, “If we pool our efforts and resources we can finally break the back of this problem” (Donald, 11/11).

Including Evangelical Christians In U.S. Foreign Aid Discussion

“Washington is in an era of budget-cutting, so we frequently hear calls to shrink or eliminate U.S. foreign-assistance programs,” which is why “several religious groups … are highlighting how these programs reduce global poverty and hunger, saving millions of lives,” Richard Stearns, president of World Vision USA, writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. However, he says “evangelical Christians [are] largely absent from this religious coalition” and notes that “a Pew survey earlier this year found that 56 percent of evangelicals think ‘aid to the world’s poor’ should be the first thing cut from the federal budget.”

USAID Releases New Issue Of Frontlines

The November/December issue of USAID’s Frontlines focuses on the agency’s 50th anniversary and food security in the Horn of Africa. In his “Insights” column, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah writes, “As we continue to shape a brighter future for generations to come, we must rededicate ourselves to continually improve the way we…

Action On Climate Change Required To Prevent Harm To Health, Development, Reports Say

“[A] lack of action on climate change and habitat destruction will threaten the progress of developing countries,” because environmental sustainability affects “a wide range of social issues,” including “health, education, income, gender disparities and energy production, combined with protection of the ecosystem,” according to the U.N. Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report 2011, titled, “Sustainability and Equity: a Better Future for All,” VOA News reports. The report “argues that if you invest in people’s health and schooling, the population will be a better keeper of its environmental resources over the long term,” according to the news service (Lewis, 11/8).

U.N. Official Urges Donors To Provide More Relief For Flooding In Central America

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg on Tuesday “urged donors to give generously to assist Nicaragua and El Salvador cope with the aftermath of the recent floods, saying that the scale of the disaster is beyond what the small Central American nations can handle on their own,” the U.N. News Centre reports. According to the news service, approximately 1.2 million people in the region are affected by flooding, “[t]housands of homes have been damaged and hundreds of schools, roads and health facilities are closed,” and [w]ater-borne diseases are spreading …, she added.” Bragg also said food security was a concern, as thousands of acres of crops were destroyed, “‘making it increasingly difficult for people to get enough food for the next six months,’ she stated,” the news service notes (11/8).

South Korea Authorizes WHO To Distribute Medical Aid For Malnourished North Korean Children

“South Korea on Tuesday authorized the World Health Organization [WHO] to resume distribution of Seoul-funded medical aid to North Korea, amid growing calls for humanitarian assistance for malnourished North Korean children,” the New York Times reports (Sang-Hun, 11/8). “Seoul has authorized the WHO to release $6.94 million to equip hospitals in the North, said the official of the unification ministry, which handles cross-border ties,” Agence France-Presse writes. “Seoul decided to unblock its WHO funding ‘by taking into account its stance of maintaining its humanitarian aid for infants, children and other vulnerable people in the North, and the WHO’s request,’ [a South Korean] ministry official said on condition of anonymity,” AFP notes (11/8).

Brazil Leading Fight Against Hunger, WFP Head Says

“Brazil is a world leader in the fight against hunger and its experience can be shared with other countries, visiting World Food Programme [WFP] chief Josette Sheeran said Monday … in the northeastern city of Salvador while inaugurating a local branch of a newly established Center of Excellence Against Hunger based in [the capital] Brasilia,” Agence France-Presse reports (11/7). The center “will assist governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America by drawing on the expertise of WFP and Brazil in the fight against hunger, while promoting sustainable school feeding models and other food and nutrition safety nets,” the U.N. News Centre writes (11/7).