Heading for SDG 2: Zero Hunger
Why should we care ?
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” - Mother Theresa
SDG 2 was defined in September 2015, in the context of the 2030 Agenda’s establishment. It states that, by 2030, we should “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.”
The Global Report, published in April 2019 by the Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), showed that the number of people in the world affected by food deprivation has stayed over 100 million during the last three years, and the number of countries involved has increased. Moreover, an additional 143 million people in other 42 countries are close to face acute hunger. Almost two-thirds of those facing malnutrition are in just 8 countries: Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. A combination of mutual factors led to this reversal in progress, such as conflicts, economic crisis and disasters linked to climate change. In relation to the Global Report, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said: “It is clear from the Global Report that despite a slight drop in 2018 in the number of people experiencing acute food insecurity - the most extreme form of hunger - the figure is still far too high. We must act at scale across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus to build the resilience of affected and vulnerable populations. To save lives, we also have to save livelihoods.”
The Report also highlighted the negative effects of malnutrition on children. Based on the data, in 2017, 151 million of children under 5 years of age had a delay in physical development. Children’s deterioration is the highest in Asia, ten times more than in Latin America and the Caribbean. Additionally, one woman out of three in her fertile age suffers from anaemia, which implies serious consequences for women’s health and development.
On the other hand, we see an increase of obesity - especially among young people - in North America, but also in Africa and Asia, where malnutrition and obesity often coexist. This is due to poor access to nutritious food (because of the higher costs), stress and physiological response to food deprivation.
Despite this difficult scenario, the E.U. never stopped intensifying its humanitarian efforts. Over the last three years, in fact, the E.U. provided the biggest humanitarian food and nutrition assistance budget ever, with nearly 2 billion euros.
According to the U.N., countries worldwide can achieve SDG 2 by implementing the following targets:
-End hunger and make sure that all people, especially the poor and people in vulnerable situations, have access to nutritious and sufficient food;
-End all forms of malnutrition, especially in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and breastfeeding women;
-Double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, especially women, indigenous peoples, farmers and fishermen;
-Ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices;
-Maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals;
-Increase investments in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services;
-Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in global agricultural market.
We, as Millennials, can make a difference and meet SDG 2 by modifying our daily routine with simple actions, at home, at work and in the community. For example, we should strive to reduce food waste, support local farmers or markets, make sustainable food choices and support good nutrition for everyone, especially those living in financial straits. This is the key to build a better future at global level. Indeed, a world with zero hunger could have a positive impact on our health, education, equality and social development.
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