Zero Hunger at the World Humanitarian Summit: Committing to Leave No One Behind


Leaders from Governments, the United Nations, inter-governmental, regional and nongovernmental organizations met at the very first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. A side event, entitled Zero Hunger by 2030: Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security for All, gathered together thirteen hunger organisations and initiatives to discuss the achievement of Zero Hunger by 2030 within the context of leaving no one behind in ending hunger and poverty as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Panelists were unanimous in recognizing that rhetoric aimed at achieving Zero Hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030 must be transformed into urgent and consolidated action and implementation of existing policies. There was also widespread agreement that attention must be paid to addressing the root causes of crises, prevention, as well as on longer-term investments in sustainable food systems. “Building resilience to disasters does work and saves communities from suffering. But there has to be a global commitment to invest in preparedness and long-term development,” said Josefina Stubbs, Associate Vice-President, International Fund for Agricultural Development.

The discussion also identified the importance of building resilience to crises and shocks – particularly disasters caused by the adverse effects of climate change – as well as prioritizing long-term investments in agriculture, food security and good nutrition as investments in conflict prevention.

“Moving forward from persistent food crisis demands, reducing and transferring risk, strengthening people’s own capacities for resilience and truly uniting humanitarian and development actions that people on the front line of climate-change, hunger and poverty require and deserve”. – Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme

Participants recognized that the Sustainable Development Goals, and the 2030 Agenda more broadly, are a second chance for humanity to right the wrongs of the past and to leave a more sustainable and peaceful world for future generations. Director-General of FAO, Mr. Jose Graziano da Silva added, “ending poverty, hunger and malnutrition must become the basis of a new social contract in which no one is left behind. We have a second chance. This is what the SDGs are all about and it is key to resolving the world humanitarian crisis.”

Speakers agreed that this chance should not be missed and committed to do their part to meet these goals, including by paying special attention to the existing inequalities, which remain a barrier to progress and peace. His Excellency Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland noted that not only is hunger a “persistence of poverty and inequality in our societies,” but that “unequal rights, opportunities and protection deepen the global problem of hunger amongst millions, with all its consequences for women, men and above all children.”

CjNzFFLXIAAGwW4And that “Ensuring that we ‘leave no-one behind’ requires us to acknowledge and systematically address hunger and inequality for what they are: an injustice, a breach of rights.”

Towards that end, the various panellists agreed that no one country or organization can achieve this on their own and that working in partnership is therefore critical. With such an overwhelming and earnest commitment from the participants, we should be hopeful in the face of these daunting challenges that we can become a society where no one is left behind.