Zero Hunger and the Sustainable Development Goals

On 25 September 2015, the 193-Member United Nations General Assembly formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with a set of bold new Sustainable Development Goals, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed as a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.

UN Sustainable Development Goals iconsThe new framework: Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is composed of 17 goals and 169 targets to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years. The Goals aim to build on the work of the historic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which in September 2000, rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty.

Key to the success of the 2030 Agenda, and to the 17 global goals, will be the concept and practice of integration. The successful achievement of the new sustainable development agenda will lie in an integrated, holistic approach to its implementation.

The Secretary-General’s Zero Hunger Challenge has championed just such an integrated approach. It calls on all stakeholders to work together in an integrated manner, and recognizes that Zero Hunger can only be achieved if all elements are taken together: zero stunting and good nutrition, and access to adequate food for everyone at all times; sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems, with no loss or waste of food; and support for smallholders, especially women and young people.

The 2030 Agenda is people-centered and principle-driven, calling for cooperation between all stakeholders to create measurable impact for those on the ground.

E_SDG_Icons-02The member-states have responded to the Secretary-General’s Challenge by making zero hunger integral to the 2030 Agenda. Goal 2 – “Zero Hunger” – calls upon member states to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.” It includes targets on stunting, access, agricultural productivity and income for smallholders and women, and sustainable food systems. Goal 12 calls on member states to “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns” and includes a target on global food waste and loss.

Zero Hunger can be achieved by tackling food insecurity and malnutrition while promoting sustainable agriculture and food systems – but it cannot be achieved alone. The 2030 Agenda recognizes that only by recognizing the interconnected root causes of poverty and hunger can we end them forever. We cannot claim success if any goal is unmet, or if any country or person is left behind. We must recognize, and work together to address, the links between, food, climate, nutrition, health, poverty, and planet. Each goal can only be achieved in the company of the others.