Climate Disaster Law: Agriculture and Food Security
This is a draft chapter in Climate Disaster Law: Barriers and Opportunities edited by Rosemary Lyster and Rob Verchick, Edward Elgar Publishing 2017 Forthcoming
16 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2017
Date Written: February 21, 2017
Agriculture depends on a stable and predictable climate, enabling farmers to plan their activities with the aim to secure the best possible harvest. Climate disasters are already impacting on agricultural activities and, thus, on food security. Water shortages in droughts and heat waves have a negative impact on crops as well as livestock. Excessive precipitation, floods and inundation and increased and changing occurrence of pests, weeds and diseases, are other examples of climate disasters that have devastating impacts on food production. On the basis of a multidisciplinary literature review (disaster, climate, international, humanitarian, environmental, and agricultural law, and agricultural and food sciences) I analysed the main issues law and policymakers at the international and the domestic level should focus on when developing a legal framework that is sufficiently equipped to deal with climate disasters affecting agriculture. Three stages were distinguished: the disaster mitigation phase, the disaster response phase and the compensation and rebuilding phase. Disaster mitigation for agriculture starts with the adoption and implementation of climate smart practices and technologies across farms around the world, which has to be stimulated and facilitated by laws and policies, for instance by introducing financial benefits to farmers who do so, or by integrating water and agricultural laws. International collaboration and fundraising is required to speed up the development and implementation of early warning systems and climate and weather information and forecasts aimed at the agricultural sector. Disaster response mainly concerns food supply in developing countries. The further development of a comprehensive international legal framework for disaster response that also focuses on agriculture and food security is urgently required. The rebuilding phase is crucial with a view to creating a better, more resilient, agricultural sector, so that it is better suited to deal with the next climate disaster. For developing countries, this can only be done when financial means are provided to farmers to help them invest in climate smart practices and technologies. Domestic legal instruments in the area of disaster compensation should focus on rewarding the adaptive farmer. The development of various forms of insurances against agricultural losses due to climate disasters needs to be stimulated and facilitated by insurers, banks, governments and NGOs.
Keywords: climate smart agriculture, climate disaster law, climate law, environmental law
JEL Classification: K32, K33, Q54, H84
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation