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Climate Change To Hit Pacific Islands Food Security

Date: 27-Nov-09
Country: ITALY
Author: Svetlana Kovalyova

MILAN - Rising sea levels, ocean warming, cyclones and droughts caused by climate change is set to hit hard food security in the Pacific islands, the United Nations' food agency said, urging governments to take immediate actions.

Climate change is expected to act as a "threat multiplier" in the Pacific region, home to 14 Pacific island countries and five territories (PICT), the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in a special report issued ahead of U.N. climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.

"Despite the fact that PICTs make negligible contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions rates (0.03 percent), they find themselves -- unfairly -- facing the frontline of climate change impacts," the reports said.

The region which relies on imported fuel and food and is susceptible to natural disasters, faces more frequent tropical cyclones and droughts, degradation of land and marine ecosystems and rising risks to local food production, the FAO said.

The region's vital fishing industry was under pressure from climate-triggered changes, it said.

Forests which provide important staple crops in the region, such as breadfruit, mangoes, citrus fruits and coconuts, were also threatened by climate change and overexploitation, it said.

"Farmers should not be left alone when it comes to climate change," FAO's Assistant Director-General Alexander Muller said.

"International climate change negotiations should consider the close linkages between food security and global warming," Muller said, adding Pacific islands should be supported in implementing their National Adaptation Programmes of Action.

(Editing by James Jukwey)

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