Accessing, Obtaining and Protecting
- Elgar Law, Technology and Society series
Edited by Abbe E.L. Brown
Chapter 9: The ‘new normal’: food, climate change and intellectual property
The global food system is broken. Worldwide, 868 million are undernourished. The Asia-Pacific region ranks highest in terms of the number of people that are hungry and sub-Saharan Africa leads on a percentage basis. In Niger, for example, one in two children suffers from malnutrition and one in six dies before the age of five. In July 2011, the United Nations declared Somalia’s food crisis a famine, triggered by the country’s worst drought in 60 years, killing tens of thousands of Somalis from malnutrition-related causes and forcing mass exodus to neighbouring Kenya. Aid agencies estimate that 3.7 million people in Somalia and millions more in neighbouring Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya are close to starvation. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, at a meeting of the UN Security Council in 2011, stated that climate change will result in a world where ‘mega-crisis may well become the new normal’. Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, has called the triple threat of climate change, rising food prices and population growth a ‘perfect storm’. On the 2011 famine in East Africa, the head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Rajiv Shah, stated: ‘There’s no question that hotter and drier growing conditions in sub-Saharan Africa have reduced the resiliency of these communities _ Absolutely the change in climate has contributed to this problem, without question.’ Even assuming success in limiting global warming to 2 degrees, the target that parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have resigned themselves to, climate change stands to make a bad situation worse.
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