SDG 2: Zero Hunger
Despite steady reduction in the number of people suffering from hunger over the past decades, in 2015, the number began to slowly increase again. Currently, it is estimated that there are 690 million people hungry, or 8.9% of the world population. In spite of continuous efforts to decrease these numbers, not much progress has been made. The world is completely not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030 and if recent trends continue, the number of people without a reliable food supply chain would reach 840 million by 2030. According to the World Food Programme, 135 million suffer from acute hunger largely due to man-made conflicts, climate change and economic downturns. In addition, with the impact from COVID-19, 130 million people are threatened to be pushed towards acute hunger by the end of 2020. With this staggering figure, swift actions are needed in order to relieve these people from hunger. Furthermore, the global food and agricultural system needs to be reformed in order to nourish the more than 690 million people who are hungry today and those in the future. So as to provide our future and current world population with a stable food supply chain, increasing the productivity of agriculture as well as sustainable food production is crucial for a world free from hunger. As such, striving to achieve the 8 targets that was set out in 2015 for Zero Hunger is cardinal.
2.1 By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.
Though increasing development in countries such as China and India has helped in ensuring many with access to safe and nutritious food, many are still struggling to get access to food. Despite results from many causes, most suffer from acute hunger due to man-made conflicts, climate change and economic downturns. To make matters worse, the number of conflicts and the impact from climate change is steadily increasing each year, resulting in loss and obstacles that hampers our efforts in helping those in need. As such, addressing these problems and putting more effort into reducing the impact of these events are highly crucial to the achievement of ending hunger.
2.2 By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.
For the past two decades, the rate of global food production has increased faster than the rate of global population growth. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2009a, 2009b), the world produces more than 1 1/2 times enough food to feed everyone on the planet. This amount of food is already enough to feed up to 10 billion people, the population peak that is estimated to reach by 2050. However, there are still nearly 10 percent of the entire world population still suffering from hunger, not to mention the 135 million who suffer from acute hunger. This clearly highlights that there is a problem in our current food supply chain. Despite the excess amount of food that we have each year, there are still people going to sleep with an empty stomach. Thus, as to achieve the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, commensurate attention and efforts need to be put on improving the current food supply chain as well as reducing the impacts of extreme events.
2.3 By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.
While we have enough food to feed the entire world population, the lack of accessibility and availability is also a problem that prevents people from having food. Especially in countries and regions where impacts from man-made conflicts and natural disasters are extremely severe, getting food to the people or producing enough food to feed everyone in that region is a real challenge. As such, it is vital to increase the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers since this would ensure the availability of food in these vulnerable regions. Thus reducing the dependence on other food sources. By making food produced in the region available, we can ensure the decrease in price of these nourishments as it costs less to transfer. Consequently, the availability of freshly, regional produced nourishments ensure higher accessibility to food for those who are still struggling with less than $1.90 a day in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
2.4 By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.
In order to build a stable food supply chain for all, long-term sustainability needs to be incorporated into our core development plans. In the future, having agricultural practices that yield high produce is not enough. Even when the world is collaborating to combat climate change, scientists have concluded that no matter what we do, it is certain that climate change will still happen. To be able to ensure a sustainable agriculture system that is prepared for the future, implementing agricultural practices that increase productivity and production while maintaining ecosystems and adaptable to consequences of climate change is the key to a sustainable food production system. The capacity of a country to cope against the impacts of climate change is crucial to reduce their vulnerability towards famine and a lack of access to sufficient food in case of extreme weather.
2.5 By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed.
With emerging threats brought on by climate change, maintaining the genetic diversity of seeds and animals are important. As our planet gets warmer, extreme weather such as drought, flooding will definitely be on the rise. Given the dire situation we will be in, having a wide genetic diversity of crops and animals would aid in the creation of crops that are resistant to pests as well as extreme weather. Not only does these kinds of crops yield a higher produce, but it will also help mitigate the impacts of climate change towards our food production system, and ensure that every single individual has access to ample nourishment.
2.A Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries.
Given the current status quo where most people who are hungry live in developing countries and least developed countries, enhancing agricultural productive capacity is integral for the achievement of inclusive growth. By increasing investments in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and technology development, those who are in rural areas - the ones who have least access to advanced technology and knowledge would be able to increase their production capacity. Ensuring access to infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks is the key to long-term sustainability and boosting inclusive growth.
2.B Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets, including through the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round.
In order to support the consumption of domestic products as well as supporting small-scale food producers, parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies should be implemented. Despite agricultural export subsidies increase the market competitiveness for exports, it is also causing harm for small-scale food producers who struggle to compete against export products that are heavily subsidised. To make matters worse, these small-scale farms are also the ones who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change to boot. By eliminating all forms of agricultural export subsidies and other measures with equivalent effect, we can ensure more stable world agricultural markets in addition to ensuring the existence of small-scale forms who couldn’t compete against subsidized goods. Furthermore, the elimination of agricultural export subsidies would also encourage consumption of domestic products in importing countries.
2.C Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility.
Without access to safe, nutritious food, our progress on other goals such as education, health and gender equality would be greatly limited. As such, preventing extreme food price volatility is crucial to the achievement of a world with zero hunger as well as other goals that are due by 2030. Provided the impact that extreme food price volatility would have on people, especially the poor and those in vulnerable situations, adopting measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and being able to provide timely access to market information would play a major role in creating a more stable food chain supply.
As a global citizen, we can all do our part in order to achieve a world with zero hunger by 2030. With a variety of programs following a holistic and hands-on approach, we are committed to giving students a better sense of the world and a platform to further their skills. Through our workshops, lectures, seminars and learning journeys, students will be exposed to many different global issues and learn how to approach these issues through various angles.