In September 2021, the UN Food System Summit was held based on the idea of UN Secretary-General Guterres that the transition to a sustainable food system is essential to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The follow-up meeting, the UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment (UNFSS+2), was held this week at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy.
On July 27, the United Nations announced that July 2023 is likely to set a record for the hottest month on record, signaling the end of the global warming era and the arrival of global boiling. On the same day, the World Meteorological Organization released the State of the Climate in Asia 2022, which noted that the impact of extreme events and climate change has increased in recent years. The report also mentioned that agriculture will continue to be significantly affected, emphasizing the urgency of climate change adaptation to build a resilient food system.
In July of this year, record-high temperatures have been surpassed in various parts of the world. On July 16th, the temperatures exceeded 50℃ in Death Valley, USA, and in northwestern China. On July 25th, the World Weather Attribution, an organization that analyzes extreme events and their connection to climate change, reported that extreme heatwaves similar to those observed in North America, Southern Europe, and China during July 2023 are becoming more likely due to climate change.
The United Nations Food System Summit was held in September 2021. Following that, a meeting for stocktaking is scheduled to take place every two years. The first of these meetings, known as the UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment (UNFSS+2), is being held for three days starting today, July 24th, at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and JIRCAS will host an official UNFSS+2 side event on July 24.
Geopolitical factors such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine and extreme weather conditions, as evidenced by the daily heat waves, bring uncertainty to food security. It is at times like these that we must consider the need for ecosystem restoration that will lead to a strengthening of the food production base.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) have released the 2023 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report.
Recent heat waves of unprecedented intensity in the Northern Hemisphere have caused damage to human health, ecosystems, economies, agriculture, and energy and water supplies. Against this backdrop, it has been reported that John Kerry, the U.S. President's Special Envoy on Climate Issues, is visiting Beijing, China, where the world's two largest emitters will resume negotiations to coordinate action on climate change. The world is watching to see if the unprecedented pace of record high temperatures will move the major powers to take action on climate change.
820. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023: Global Hunger Still Far Above Pre-Pandemic Levels
On July 12, five UN agencies (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, WHO) jointly released the 2023 edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI). This year's report focuses on urbanization.
According to Hunger Hotspots, a report jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP) of the United Nations, 18 hunger hotspots covering 22 countries are feared to emerge in the period June-November 2023, and people in these areas could face severe food insecurity. The State of the World's Food Security and Nutrition (SOFI) 2023, released by the UN agency on July 12, also estimated that 783 million people faced hunger in 2022, 122 million more than in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
In recent years, in addition to the situation in Ukraine and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been concern about the depletion of phosphorus ore, the raw material for fertilizers, and the price of phosphorus fertilizers continues to rise. In the tropical developing regions where JIRCAS conducts research, weathered soils with phosphorus deficiencies are widespread, but sufficient phosphorus fertilizers cannot be purchased and applied for economic reasons. For this reason, JIRCAS has been engaged in various studies to overcome phosphorus deficiency. The results of a study on the early growth of rice plants using seeds with different amounts of phytic acid, which serves as a phosphorus reservoir in the seeds, showed that the use of seeds with high amounts of phytic acid can improve the early growth of rice plants not only in phosphorus-deficient soils but also in phosphorus-rich soils.
July 11 is World Population Day. Understanding the possible patterns of future population levels and the demographics of individual countries and regions is critical to maintaining food and nutrition security, as well as addressing international development issues and climate change solutions.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released its latest World Food Price Trends on July 7. The June 2023 index averaged 122.3 points, down 1.7 points (1.4%) from the previous month and 37.4 points (23.4%) below the all-time high reached in March 2022. The June decline reflects significant declines in the price indices for sugar, vegetable oil, cereals and dairy products, while meat prices were virtually unchanged.
Geopolitical conflicts and supply disruptions are an opportunity to remind us of our vulnerability to the interconnected fuel, fertilizer and food crises. The sharp rise in nitrogen fertilizer prices threatens food security, but countries that overuse and underuse fertilizer should respond differently. A paper published June 29 in Nature Sustainability examines the effectiveness of geographically differentiated organic and fertilizer policies in countries and regions that overuse and underuse nitrogen fertilizers.
On July 4, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) declared that there are signs of El Niño conditions. While El Niño itself is a natural phenomenon, there is concern that it may be accompanied by record-high temperatures and extreme weather patterns in the context of human-induced climate change.
Sustainable development requires that economic growth and the conservation of the natural environment be achieved simultaneously, and that these conditions be maintained over the long term. However, economic growth and conservation have often been viewed as trade-offs. In contrast, a recent paper published in PNAS shows that degradation of the natural environment causes significant economic losses, especially in low-income countries, and that investments in conservation have the potential to generate significant economic benefits, especially for people in low-income countries.