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Climate, COVID-19 and conflict threaten health, food security and nutrition

Climate, COVID-19 and conflict threaten health, food security and nutrition

Hendriks, Sheryl ORCID: 0000-0002-1487-4302, Benson, T, Badiane, O, Castro de la Mata, G, Fanzo, J, Guinto, RR, Montgomery, H and Soussana, JF (2022) Climate, COVID-19 and conflict threaten health, food security and nutrition. British Medical Journal (BMJ), 378:e071534. pp. 1-4. ISSN 1759-2151 (Print), 0959-8138 (Online) (doi:

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September 2021 saw the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) take place in New York. It focused on the “three Cs” that are driving disruption to food systems and threatening recent progress in mitigating hunger, malnutrition, and undernutrition: global environmental climate change, covid-19 disease, and conflict. Summit delegates from 183 countries agreed that business as usual would not lead to the change necessary to achieve the sustainable development goals. Summit participants called for urgent action at scale. The three Cs interact on five mediators (“five Fs”) upon which food systems depend: the geopolitics of our global food, fertilizer, finance, fodder, and fuel systems (fig 1). Our global food supply system is fragile and vulnerable to the impacts of each driver or mediator. However, all can interact to amplify the downstream effects on people, their health, and diets. For example, decreased food availability has financial impacts (and vice versa). In a vicious feedback loop, undernutrition affects the ability to produce food, and lack of food availability can lead to conflict (and vice versa), while environmental climate change can cause both.
Key messages
• Global environmental climate change can lead to challenges related to health, food security, and nutrition
• Environmental climate change interacts with covid-19 and conflict, and drives food insecurity and malnutrition
• Every public policy choice has opportunities, threats, and trade-offs that can affect health, food security, and nutrition for communities directly and indirectly through supply and market challenges, conflict, and geopolitics

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change; food security; Covid 19
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Last Modified: 15 May 2023 13:52

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