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Vulnerability of mountain peoples to food insecurity

Updated data and analysis of drivers










Romeo, R., Grita, F., Parisi, F. and Russo, L. 2020. Vulnerability of mountain peoples to food insecurity: updated data and analysis of drivers. Rome, FAO and UNCCD.




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    Towards a GIS-based analysis of mountain environments and populations 2003
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    This report presents the results of work in progress. It applies GIS techniques and newly available geo-referenced data to understand conditions underlying poverty and hunger in the world, with special reference to mountain environments and populations. Following the system developed by the United Nations Environment Programme – World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in 2000 for classifying mountain areas, hilly as well as high mountain areas are covered by the analysis. New data about global population density from the LandScan 2000 map has made it possible to estimate population figures for each mountain area class, as well as for other parameters about agricultural land use, farming systems, environmental constraints and yields per person that contribute to the estimation of the number of vulnerable rural mountain people. The report notes that, although vulnerable people represent a far greater proportion of the total population in high mountain areas, their absolute numbe rs are far greater at lower elevations. In all, around 245 million rural mountain people in developing and transition countries are estimated to be vulnerable to food insecurity. Of these, 87 percent live below 2 500 m where population pressure and increasing demand for grazing land are creating serious sustainability problems for mountain environments and the livelihood systems of the inhabitants. This report concludes with a brief summary of five areas of opportunity for developing more sustai nable livelihood options for mountain people, namely, water, agriculture, conservation and tourism, forests and rangelands, and mountain industry and services.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Marginal lands: potential for agricultural development, food security and poverty reduction 2022
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    Globally, marginal lands make up about 21 percent (2.74 billion ha) of the total land (13.5 billion ha) area. However, about 1 558 million ha of these lands are used for agriculture, out of which about 224 to 300 million ha is classified as agriculturally marginal areas. From a demographic perspective, nearly 1.75 billion people (38 percent of global rural populations) live on remote less favoured and marginal agricultural areas and nearly 1.6 (out of 1.75) billion live in developing countries. From a socioeconomic perspective food insecurity, and poverty remain predominately rural, with nearly 10 percent of the world’s population or 734 million people living on less than USD 1.90 a day (2015 est.) and more than 820 million people (11 percent of the global population) remain undernourished, the majority of whom live in marginal areas of the low-income countries. A vast majority of the population depending on agriculture in marginal environments is continued to be highly vulnerable to multiple stresses and off track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of achieving ending poverty in all its forms (SDG1) and zero hunger (SDG2) by 2030. The COVID-19 pandemic has already exacerbated the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of agri-food systems including all the activities and processes affecting the production, processing, distribution and consumption of food and pushed an additional 83 to 132 million people into food insecurity. The setback throws into further doubt the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger) especially in marginal environments. In post COVID era, there is, a strong need to boost agricultural production by improving productivity of agriculture and food production for achieving food security and ending poverty especially in the marginal areas. This paper presents the potential of marginal lands for food security and poverty reduction through sustainable and regenerative agriculture. It presents the outcome of a systematic review on the multidimensional and complex nature of marginality and the factors that drive or characterize marginality in the broader context. The aim of the paper is to draw a working definition for agricultural environments that are considered as marginal in the context of a given agricultural economy and use it to identify the extent of global and regional marginal areas and its hotspots. Moreover, the paper attempts to explore the combinations of underlying causes of agricultural marginality and proximate factors that correlate with marginality as well as opportunities and barriers faced by the rural poor living
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Infographic - Mapping the vulnerability of mountain peoples to food insecurity 2015
    Mapping the vulnerability of mountain peoples to food insecurity found that the number of food insecure people living in mountain regions in developing countries grew to nearly 329 million in 2012, up from 253 million in 2000, even though the overall population of the world's mountain peoples increased only by 16 percent during that same time. That means that one in three mountain people, both urban and rural, in developing countries faced hunger and malnutrition, compared to one out of nine pe ople globally. And focusing on only rural mountain populations, which depend on natural resources such as land, water and forests for their livelihoods, the numbers get even starker: almost half of them are food insecure.

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