The rise in global malnutrition shows that those least responsible for climate change will suffer most

Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland who now has the title of adjunct professor of climate justice at Trinity College Dublin, said that climate change had begun to severely affect poorer countries where people are at risk of malnutrition. Paul O’Donoghue explains in an article in The Times.

 

Mary Robinson says climate change hits the world’s hungry hardest

The rise in global malnutrition shows that those least responsible for climate change will suffer most, Mary Robinson has said.

The former president cited figures which show that the number of people suffering from chronic hunger increased from 785 million in 2015 to 822 million in 2018.

Ms Robinson, who now has the title of adjunct professor of climate justice at Trinity College Dublin, said that climate change had begun to severely affect poorer countries where people are at risk of malnutrition.

She said that all nations must meet their commitments under the UN 2030 agenda, which aims to end poverty and hunger in the next decade, and the Paris climate agreement, a pact signed in 2015 that commits countries to keeping global warming below 2C compared with pre-industrial levels.

“The full implementation of both has become imperative in order to secure a livable world for our children and grandchildren. This requires a change of mindset at the global political level,” Ms Robinson said.

She was writing in the foreword for the 2019 global hunger index (GHI), which ranks every country from 0-100. The 2019 ranking was published yesterday by Concern Worldwide, an Irish aid agency, and Welthungerhilfe, an NGO.

Nations with a hunger score of 50 or more are considered “extremely alarming” — only the Central African Republic did so this year. Of the 117 countries given a rating 43 have “serious” levels of hunger, scored between 20 and 30.99.

The GHI found that global levels of hunger had reduced from 29.2 to 20 since the turn of the millennium. Countries with a score of 10 to 19.9 are classed as having “moderate” hunger.

Extreme weather events, sometimes linked to climate change, are jeopardising the food supply, particularly in poorer countries.

Writing in the GHI report, Ms Robinson said: “That is the greatest injustice of climate change — that those who bear the least responsibility for climate change are the ones who will suffer the most.”

Réiseal Ní Chéilleachaire, head of global advocacy for Concern, told The Times : “In countries like the Central African Republic, the capacity to recover from climate shocks like drought isn’t there and people are put in these situations where they are unable to feed their children.

“Without huge action to ensure we have a transformative impact around addressing climate change more people will go hungry.”

Progress on undernourishment, defined as the percentage of the population without regular access to adequate calories, had stagnated. “The number of people who are hungry has actually risen to 822 million from 785 million in 2015,” the researchers said, citing a UN figure from August.

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