1,000 Days: Achieving the Zero Hunger Challenge

1000_days_logo.jpgBlog by Rujuta Gandhi and Rebecca Olson for 1,000 Days. Reprinted with permission.

With 842 million people experiencing chronic hunger, rising to the Zero Hunger Challenge (ZHC) is imperative. The vision – zero hunger in our lifetime – is attainable with the right recipe, especially by ensuring universal access to nutritious food in the 1,000 day “window of opportunity” from a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s 2nd birthday.

So what are the key ingredients needed to achieve zero hunger?

At an event co-hosted by IFPRIFAO and the Community for Zero Hunger, several experts highlighted nutrition’s critical role in relieving chronic hunger. We know that food and calories alone do not get to the heart of tackling hunger. Instead, the quality of food is also vitally important for both individuals and countries alike. In fact, investing in nutrition makes good economic sense. The 2012 Copenhagen Consensus – an expert panel of economists and Nobel Laureates – estimated that every $1 invested in nutrition can generate as much as $138 in better health and increased productivity.

So, what is the game-changing potion to effectively and sustainably achieve the Zero Hunger Challenge?

First, panelists agreed that all sectors and actors must be involved, which InterAction CEO, Sam Worthington, referred to as the “whole of society approach.” In order to achieve the goals set out by the ZHC, we must actively engage and encourage partnerships, and mobilize communities for change.

Second, the panelists agreed that women are central to achieving the ZHC priorities. Not only do women comprise nearly half of all smallholder farmers in developing countries, but they also have the power to improve the health outcomes of their children. Women can nurture healthy babies with nutrition education and access to nutritious food.

Achieving the ZHC’s priorities is also possible through partnerships across sectors and countries – an idea that all panelists acknowledged as critical to success. By joining the ZHC, partners can help identify and tackle any gaps and obstacles that may prevent a child receiving the nutrition they need to survive and thrive. Through its partnerships, the ZHC strives to ensure that every child can reach their full potential.

Under strong leadership and unified messaging – like that demonstrated by the UN Secretary-General and the Zero Hunger Challenge – we can eliminate hunger by 2025. So, rise to the challenge and spread the word: hunger can be eliminated in our lifetime. 

Rujuta Gandhi is an Operations and Outreach Associate, and Rebecca Olson a Nutrition Policy Analyst, for 1,000 Days.


This post does not reflect the views or opinion of the Zero Hunger Challenge, and does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.