Fifteen years after the launch of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and a decade after G7 leaders gathered in Gleneagles to promise to ‘make poverty history’, the end of extreme poverty is within reach.
Smallholder farmers, and particularly women, are on the frontline in the fight against hunger and climate change in southern Africa. Unequal access to resources, poor access to finance and limited linkages to markets to sell their produce impose critical constraints, and food insecurity and poverty are the direct outcomes of this failure.
Climate change is already the biggest threat to winning the fight against hunger. Coal is the biggest single cause of climate change, yet the G7 countries are still burning huge amounts, despite efficient, affordable, renewable alternatives being available.
Climate finance is fundamental to a fair and effective global climate agreement. Too few countries have delivered on their obligations. As a result, the world’s poorest people have not benefitted from the necessary investment, and climate finance has been a major obstacle to achieving a global climate change agreement.
Climate change is already making people hungry, and the use of fossil fuels is largely to blame, representing the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions globally. On current trends, the world will be 4–6ºC hotter by the end of the century, exceeding 2ºC within the lifetimes of most people reading this report.
South Africa is supposedly a food-secure nation, producing enough calories to feed every one of its 53 million citizens. But despite some progress, one in four people currently suffers hunger on a regular basis and more than half of the population live in such precarious circumstances that they are at risk of going hungry.