Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia

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Across South Asia large populations depend on semi-subsistence agriculture for
their livelihoods. Rainfall in the semi-arid and sub-humid regions of South Asia is
highly variable and undependable and influences agricultural productivity. Farming
practices in these regions have developed as a response to such climatic risks.
According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in 2007, future projections of climate change indicate that South Asia is very likely to warm significantly during this century. Also, freshwater availability is projected to decrease particularly in large river basins due to climate change and coastal areas will be at greatest risk due to sea level rise and increased flooding from the sea and rivers. In some South Asian countries, a substantial reduction in crop yields from rainfed agriculture could occur. Additionally, dramatic changes in the land use patterns in South Asia compound the problem of climate change.
To cope with climate variability and change more effectively in South Asia, it is necessary to identify integrated adaptation and mitigation options for a range of agroecosystems so as to enable a favourable policy environment for the implementation of the framework. It is important to identify/understand impacts, vulnerability and adaptation; select and implement adaptation actions; enhance cooperation among South Asian countries to better manage climate change risks; and enhance integration of climate
change adaptation with sustainable agricultural development in South Asia.

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