Trinidad and Tobago Express
Climate change, if not effectively addressed, will adversely affect agricultural production and further threaten food security in the Caribbean region, Willard Phillips, Environmental Specialist of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said Wednesday.
Phillips, who was speaking at the official launch of the UNDP's Human Development Report 2007 which was hosted at the auditorium of the School of Education and Continuing Studies, St Augustine, said the report "points to the fact that within the global stage, it is likely to hurt agricultural production in developing country's most substantially."
"We anticipate there is going to be an estimated four to five percent decline in the potential for agriculture output across the world by 2018 . And even higher percentages (of decline) is anticipated for developing countries... In the Middle East and North Africa there is going to be just about 10 percent (decline in agricultural output) while in Latin America and the Caribbean it is going to be in the region of 13 per cent," Phillips said.
Phillips said the UNDP Human Development report, which focuses on the theme of Climate Change, points to the need for urgent action as a global family in order to confront climate change.
Another of the panel members, Professor Carlisle Pemberton, in his presentation on "The State of Food and Agriculture" (SOFA) 2007 report which was also launched on Wednesday said according to SOFA "the biggest threat to food security, especially in the context of the Caribbean is food price inflation."
Pemberton said this "scenario may well present the start of a long period of rising food prices because of structural increases in the demand for food, especially cereals, because of increased bio-fuel production; as well as weather related production shortfalls which themselves maybe the result of climate change."
Dr Emily Gaynor Dick-Forde, Minister of Planning, Housing and the Environment, who had earlier delivered brief remarks at the function, said the Government was committed to fighting climate change.
"As a member of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Associated Protocol, Trinidad and Tobago continues to play its part in the international struggle against climate change and global warming," Dick-Forde said.
The other publications launched by the UNDP in collaboration with the UWI Institute of International Relations were the; Economic Survey of the Caribbean 2006-2007 and the UNAIDS-Aids Epidemic Update 2007. Each report addressed global issues and attempts to highlight the challenges facing developing countries as they strive to achieve their millennium goals.
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