Technology brings advancement for Zero Hunger

signingA lot has happened this month in terms of technology, innovation and advancement for Zero Hunger and the greater 2030 Agenda. The signing of the Paris agreement made headlines, but what else has been happening under the radar? Here’s a quick recap of the Zero Hunger highlights for the month of April:

8 April, 2016 – Intergovernmental and UN agencies are highlighting food security and data on migration as challenges that must be addressed in the lead-up to the May 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

At an informal UN General Assembly (UNGA) event on ‘Humanitarian Response in Africa: The Urgency to Act,’ World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin stressed the role of food and nutrition shortages as contributors to conflict and displacement, noting that the impact of changing climates and the El Niño effect have exacerbated ongoing humanitarian crises. She warned that funding constraints and the increased scale of need in East and Central Africa have forced WFP to cut food rations by up to 30% in five out of seven operations.

At the event, UNGA President Mogens Lykketoft called for: taking a long-term approach to financing and building resilience; investing in disaster risk reduction (DRR); breaking down the barriers between development and humanitarian responses so as to move forward together on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian work. Read more here!

small_DGRebecca2-Sullivan15 April, 2016 – Welcoming the intensification of the partnership at the close of a workshop in Rome, Italy, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva noted that FAO and Google are “ushering in an unprecedented level of environmental literacy.” He pointed to the project’s potential to produce more frequent and precise data on the environment and its changes that can contribute to improved understanding of the effects of climate change, more efficient food production and distribution, and improved monitoring of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Rebecca Moore, Director at Google Earth Outreach and Earth Engine noted that the partnership with FAO helps to bring Google’s products “into actual use,” offering a way for both partners to “each bring our unique strengths to make a change for future generations.”

FAO reports that the collaboration is already providing resource managers and researchers in many countries with tools to gauge changing land uses of individual field-sized plots, which “offers a quantum leap towards improved abilities to assess a landscape’s carbon storage capacity or plan a nation’s approach to greenhouse gas emissions.” Specific applications of the technology so far include the collection of data for the 2016 Global Drylands Assessment, tracking of desert locust outbreaks by the FAO’s Locust Control Unit, and forest cover monitoring in Costa Rica to enhance biodiversity protection. Read more here!

22 April, 2016 – The Paris Agreement was signed by 175 global leaders. The valuable text, reached at COP 21 in December, set an unprecedented standard in addressing the causes and impact of climate change. Now it needs to be translated into urgent and ambitious investment and action. What is the significance of the kerryParis Agreement to ZeroHunger? First and foremost, we know that hunger is a climate issue!

Each year between 80 and 90 percent of natural disasters are climate-related, primarily floods, storms and droughts. These disasters destroy assets, land, livestock, crops and food supplies, and make it harder for people to access markets and food networks. Climate disasters also affect water access and quality, care practices, and access to healthy diets, further affecting hunger and malnutrition. Climate change will make this situation worse. The World Food Programme released a quick guide detailing the importance of addressing climate change in the fight against hunger. Read the full article here.

Cg-B9F6WkAEen2P26 April, 2016 – Yesterday the Chicago Council’s Global Food and Agricultural Program held a food security symposium in Washington D.C. to discuss the future of food in urbanizing world. Because two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, meeting the demand for safe, nutritious food in cities is a major food security challenge that spans across several issues within the SDGs framework. Cg-e7rjXEAAlNWv

One of the featured entrepreneurial enterprises was “Till,” a company that uses mobile technology to help farmers connect to brands without the use of the internet or a smartphone. In other words, it’s a tech innovation that supports zero waste while helping us get to Zero Hunger. Justin P. Oberman, the CEO of Till, explained “we can fill gaps in supply chain data with mobile tech to improve yields, reduce losses, and move goods.” You can find out more about Till Mobile here.