Did you know that the world produces more than enough food to support the population? So why do human beings still suffer from a lack of food? The latest statistics indicate that nearly 690 million people go to bed hungry, and food insecurity is rising. According to the UN, this is only likely to be exacerbated with the pandemic. To reverse this problem, the UN’s SDGs include a call toward zero hunger by 2030.
So, what will it take to meet the zero hunger targets?
What is SDG 2: Zero Hunger?
By its very nature, sustainable development cannot be achieved without safeguarding our people in the long run. The first target of zero hunger is to identify the sections of our population that need help and to meet their immediate food needs. The World Food Programme’s “Share the Meal” initiative does just that.
However, even if we successfully distribute food to every man, woman and child today, will that realistically elevate food insecurity tomorrow? For a lasting end to world hunger, it is vital that we don’t look at the problem in isolation. Our zero hunger solutions need integrated and transformative action to ensure that our food systems become safer, inclusive, and resilient.
On that note, the UN has declared a Zero Hunger Challenge to end hunger by 2030. It covers five key elements:
Establishing sustainable food systems:
We must first ensure that our food systems are sustainable, from production and processing to consumption. Today’s food systems should not threaten the food security and nutrition requirements of the generations to come. There is an increasing need for stronger policy implementation and public awareness about the influence of the three pillars of sustainability in food systems. This means that we need climate-compatible agriculture, diversification and production of local crops, socially attuned supply chains and stricter regulations on food prices.
Support for small scale producers:
The key to feeding a growing world population lies in promoting and supporting local farmers and food producers. It can help reduce the need for large-scale transportation and storage. This goal is also an effort to end rural poverty and promote sustainable livelihood and rural employment.
Eliminating food wastage:
According to the UNEP, one-third of the food produced is wasted around the globe. Zero hunger is aimed at reducing food wastage during production, processing, transportation, storage and even consumption by large-scale retailers.
Providing adequate, well-rounded diets
Food security is closely linked to every human rights movement around the world. Our national governments need to take proactive steps to manage food prices, make food trade easier, and participate in the global collaborative effort. Elevating food insecurity with sufficient and, more importantly, nutritious food is vital in our journey towards sustainable development.
Interwoven with poverty, malnutrition continues to be a challenge in the 21st century. Health issues like wasting and stunting due to acute hunger can have a lasting effect on the human population. On the other hand, the rise of obesity in developed countries has led to growing concerns of immediate health deterioration. In both cases, our food systems must be more nutrition-sensitive to avoid compounding health problems in our future.
Food is one of the three necessities of life, and access to sufficient and nutritious food is a fundamental human right. It’s simple; people need to know where their next meal comes from to lead a healthy, productive and dignified life.
Zero hunger is a target set under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. If you want to learn more about it, head on to our hub for a quick and informative course.