• Infestation of desert locusts, which has plagued a vast swathe from eastern Africa to India in recent years, has been closely linked to climate change.
  • In this context, the Global Landscapes Forum Climate Hybrid Conference has proposed that plans to mitigate climate change must include action against pests and diseases.
  • The conference was recently held alongside the 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Important points:

  • The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) is a short-horned grasshopper.
  • Harmless when solitary, locusts undergo a behavioural change when their population builds up rapidly.
  • They enter the ‘gregarious phase’ by forming huge swarms that can travel up to 150 km per day, eating up every bit of greenery on their way.
  • Locust infestations can harm livelihoods and be a threat to regional investments in ensuring food security.
  • In East Africa and Yemen alone, damages and losses in 2020 due to locusts could amount to as much as $8.5 billion.
  • The long-term response and recovery costs could top $1billion if swarm growth is not controlled.

Way forward:

  • Early Warning System: Satellite and weather data, along with field observations, can be used for building powerful predictive models on breeding sites.
  • True Cost Accounting: Counting the environmental and human costs through True Cost Accounting.
  • True Cost Accounting is a new type of bookkeeping that does not just look at the usual financial values within a company, but also calculates the impacts on natural and social capital.


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