Climate Change
and Nutrition

Photo ©EU/ECHO/Edward Echwalu

Building the evidence base to drive global policy agendas

Severe climate events and food and nutrition insecurity are intertwined and accelerating. This acceleration particularly impacts nutrition for the most vulnerable low- and middle-income country populations, notably women and children, already reeling from the global “polycrisis,” including the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the global food crisis. Climate, food, health, and nutrition experts must work together on consolidating the evidence on how climate change impacts the burden of all forms of malnutrition (including micronutrient deficiencies, wasting, stunting and overweight/obesity) to contribute to policy change.

Recent global actions, such as the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) and the launch of the Initiative on Climate Action and Nutrition (I-CAN), and the increasing frequency of climate change-related severe weather events have heightened policy attention to the impact of climate change on health, healthy diets, and nutrition. However, only 1% of climate official development assistance (ODA) in 2019-2021 funded nutrition actions,1 showcasing the need for accelerating collaboration in this space. A recent Lancet article notes that for most of the available adaptation policies “we do not have a clear view on the evidence — and a cacophony of opinions.”2

ST4N is a trusted evidence partner for global nutrition and climate advocacy platforms. For this Initiative, ST4N will unite cross-disciplinary experts to develop a consensus on what we currently know, both on the impacts and on solutions, and what we still need to know to accelerate action to protect the most vulnerable. Better collaboration of experts at the nexus of climate change and nutrition, speaking with one voice, will accelerate joint actions and financing.

State-of-the-evidence

In June 2024, Dr. Saskia Osendarp, Executive Director of the Micronutrient Forum, was invited by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to deliver a keynote address at Rome Nutrition Week. She was asked to present a ‘Summary of the Evidence’ on the connections between climate and nutrition within the context of food systems. These are the key messages she conveyed:

  1. The climate change and nutrition crises are intertwined with substantial consequences for future nutrition, health, development and social capital.
  2. Limited evidence suggests that pathways are complex, bi-directional and highly context specific.
  3. Solutions require holistic and context-specific approaches across agro-food, water, health and social protection systems.
  4. Evidence for policy is needed.

Photo © WFP/Evelyn Fey

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