The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) Presidency of Egypt recently partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO), U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and others to develop the Initiative on Nutrition and Climate Change (I-CAN). The multistakeholder, multisectoral global initiative aims to accelerate transformative action on the nexus of climate change and nutrition.

“Climate and health go together; nutrition is a really important bridge between the two. We need to bring these two worlds together,” Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director at GAIN, tells Food Tank. “Unless you do something about climate, you’re going to be always struggling against the tide when it comes to food and nutrition.”

Hunger is rising globally—the 2022 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World reports that up to 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021, an 18 percent increase from 2019.

The climate crisis exacerbates hunger and malnutrition by threatening the nutritional quality of crops as well as crop productivity, which impacts food prices and calorie intake. According to a 2022 study by Cornell University, a 2°C rise in temperature will increase the prevalence of child stunting in West African countries by 7.4 percentage points, “reversing the progress made on improving nutrition.” And meanwhile, food production contributes to climate change through the release of greenhouse gases and land degradation.

There are economic benefits to investing in the intersection of food, nutrition, and climate. According to the FAO, a shift towards sustainable, climate-resilient, healthy diets would help reduce health and climate change costs by up to US$1.3 trillion.

Read the full article about climate and nutrition by Emily Payne at Food Tank.