Food security

About 40 percent of the mountain population in developing and transition countries, or nearly 300 million people, are estimated to be vulnerable to food insecurity. Of these, nearly 90 percent live in rural areas and almost half of those are likely to be chronically hungry. Most rural mountain people engage in some form of agriculture as the main source of their livelihood. The land resources in mountain areas of the world comprise barren land (33 percent), forage (25 percent), forest (25 percent), cropland (7 percent), and protected areas (10 percent). In virtually all of the mountain areas across the world, crop-based farming systems are important components of local livelihoods. These include the maize-bean system in the upland areas of Central Mexico and Central America, the perennial crops-based system in the Ethiopian and Eastern African highlands, and the rice-wheat (highland mixed) system across the entire Himalaya range.


However, for millions of mountain people, hunger and the threat of hunger are nothing new. Harsh climates and the difficult, often inaccessible terrain combined with political and social marginality make mountain people vulnerable to food shortages. Hunger and micronutrient deficiencies are contributing factors to the significantly higher infant mortality rates in mountain regions. The level of maternal mortality is also higher than in the lowlands. It is important to understand that hunger and malnutrition are not merely a symptom of poverty in mountain communities – they contribute to perpetuate poverty.

Mountains provide key environmental services such as freshwater, biodiversity conservation and hydropower to more than half of humanity. Water is our planet’s most precious resource and mountains are of strategic importance to supply it. All of the major rivers rise in mountain regions, providing about 50 percent of all freshwater to downstream users. Without water, there is no food to feed growing populations. Without water and mountains, there are no solutions to meet the growing demand for clean energy. Without water, biodiversity and ecosystem integrity cannot be sustained. Without safe and reliable water, human and global well-being are at severe risk.

While mountain services are vital, there are growing threats to their sustainable supply. The effects of climate change are observed to be highest in mountains, jeopardizing the sustainability of mountain ecosystems and the socio-ecological stability of these landscapes. Globalization is another important driver of change responsible for new challenges and dilemmas, as well as opportunities, for mountain women and men.

Multimedia on policy recommendations for SMD in the Andes

Multimedia on policy recommendations for SMD in the Andes

news

During the Regional Workshop Post-Rio +20 "Sustainable Mountain Development: Building the future we need" held on November 12-14 in Lima, Peru, the Consortium for Sustainable Development of the Andean Ecoregion (CONDESAN) launched a multimedia which containing key information and policy recommendations for sustainable mountain development in the Andes.

The...

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Eighth Session of the UNECA Committee on Food Security and Sustainable Development (CFSSD-8)

Eighth Session of the UNECA Committee on Food Security and Sustainable Development (CFSSD-8)

event

The UN Economic Commission for Africa's Food Security and Sustainable Development programme aims to strengthen the capacity of Member States to design and implement policies and programmes to reinforce linkages between food security, population, environment and human settlements so as to achieve sustainable development. This meeting is also scheduled to...

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Producción orgánica de cultivos andinos (FAO)

publication
Este manual es el producto de la sistematización de los saberes ancestrales que aún se practican en el área de la Unión de Organizaciones Campesinas del Norte de Cotopaxi (Ecuador) y de la revisión de otros valiosos trabajos realizados en los Andes ecuatorianos, donde la FAO, contando con...
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2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change: “Hunger for Action”

2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change: “Hunger for Action”

event

The second Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change, will be held from 3 to 7 September 2012 in Hanoi, Viet Nam. The Conference is co-organized by the Governments of Viet Nam and the Netherlands, in collaboration with other partners, including the World Bank and the Food and...

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The retreating Himalayas: disaster in slow motion

The retreating Himalayas: disaster in slow motion

news

If the unprecedented rate of glacial retreat in the South Asian region is not checked, countries in the area are likely to turn highly food-insecure. Pakistan’s latest Climate Change Policy clearly indicates that freshwater resources in Pakistan are dependent on snow and glacial melting and monsoon rains; all of which...

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Rivers will generate a quarter of GDP by 2050, study shows

Rivers will generate a quarter of GDP by 2050, study shows

news

The world’s 10 most populous river basins (Ganges, Yangtze, Indus, Nile, Huang He Huai He, Niger, Hai, Krishna and the Danube) will be vital for economic growth – but only if water shortage threats are tackled. Rivers are the very “stuff of life”, yet billions of people do not have...

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