Protect food production from political disruption, conflicts and the effects of climate change

Actions 4 Change

We want food justice. For this to happen, we need policies that protect and provide equal access to food in the light of political, economic and climate induced conflict. Governments need to protect people’s livelihoods and food security by building resilient food systems that aren’t affected by armed-conflict, economic sanctions, dependence on food imports or exports, climate-induced militarisation and transboundary water conflicts.

Why does this Action 4 Change matter?

People’s livelihoods and food security are affected by a number of political disputes such as armed conflict, economic sanctions, dependence on food imports or exports, climate-induced militarization and transboundary water conflicts. As climate change intensifies and our natural resources run out, more people will be affected by these issues.  

Problems like wars and conflicts, biodiversity loss and pandemics put a strain on how we grow, distribute and eat food. War causes food insecurity, often in combination with climate change impacts like drought and failed crops which can intensify conflict. This is a massive problem because more than half of people who are undernourished live in countries affected by conflict. Additionally, as a result of conflict people are forced to leave their homes and migrate to other countries. We need countries to work together to make long-term refugees feel at home in their new environments and be given work in their new local food systems. 

We also know that young people between the ages of 10 and 24 are the largest group of people affected by displacement from conflict. We must listen to the voices of everyone affected by shocks, and keep their different views and needs in mind when developing solutions.    

Over the last two years we have seen the pressures created by the pandemic have made hunger and malnutrition worse all over the world. We need to strengthen our food system so that it supports us through serious problems and challenges. 

Youth in Action:

Rayan Kassem is a young Lebanese environmental scientist whose passion to fight the climate crisis encouraged him to do his own research assessing the environmental impacts of diets. In 2019 he embarked on a journey to assess the amount of water used for different diets in Denmark. Having seen the results of his research and hundreds of others he thought that the solution to our food system issues was solely dependent on diet change, he soon realized this was only one piece of the puzzle.  

Since 2019 Rayan decided to take action in a new way by being the voice of truth and equity for victimized civilians in areas of political disruption and economic crises, especially in his region; West Asia. Rayan has spoken out on the global stage at events, questioning world leaders “How can we ask people to change their diets when they don’t have access nor can afford it?”.  Rayan has seen in his own country that political unrest has meant basic food products like wheat and fruits become more expensive. Conflict has meant that farms are destroyed, transport and accessibility of food disrupted and more people Cannot access food. 

After seeing first-hand the impact conflict has on the food system he has committed to advocate for better policies at global summits, Rayan has continued to ensure that voices of marginalized populations are not forgotten in the hope that this will lead to change. Rayan is now working with other youth leaders in his region to develop and launch a new project that can support food security in areas of conflict. He hopes that with successful feedback they can create capacity-building workshops for people to replicate the work in other areas affected by conflict.  

Connect with other likeminded youth and encourage them to be a part of creating food systems that can be resilient and thrive under the stresses of conflict and crisis

Rayan Kassem

Actions 4 Change