SDG2- Zero Hunger; why it matters
We all have that uneasy or painful sensation caused by hunger and when we experience it we go to a restaurant, store, market or to our kitchens to grab something to eat. Many of us cannot actually wrap our heads around the idea of being hungry and unable to end the unease. Sadly that is the reality of about 795 million people globally.
The majority of the world’s hungry are located in developing countries (approximately 780 million), and about 1 in 3 are not only facing hunger but are also malnourished and face severe health issues as a result of that. What is even more worrying is the fact that children make up a large number of the worlds hungry and malnourished.
“Under-nutrition in the aggregate—including fetal growth restriction, stunting, wasting, and deficiencies of vitamin A and zinc along with suboptimum breastfeeding—is a cause of 3·1 million child deaths annually or 45% of all child deaths as at 2011” – worldhunger.org
No child should ever have to go to sleep hungry, and no mother should ever experience the pain of watching a child die because they had no food to eat. Now more than ever, the world needs to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, global leaders, and citizens need to work towards ending World Hunger.
So it is of no surprise that I was delighted when the United Nations included ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture (Zero Hunger) as one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), goal two to be precise. The SDGs comprise of 17 global goals agreed on by world leaders and will guide global policy and funding until 2030. The goals unlike their predecessor the Millennium Development Goals are more detailed, include more environment and climate-related targets, separates poverty from food security and makes room for social inclusion.
Courtesy of UN.org
The UN has suggested that to achieve zero hunger, global policy will have to be geared towards social protection and pro-poor investments in rural and urban areas. Social protection measures can be used to reduce the poverty gap. That is the gap between earned incomes and the income necessary to achieve basic needs. While investing in pro-poor sectors like agriculture, and infrastructure would help reduce poverty, which in turn positively affects food security.
Another key area for policy change is that of gender equality, as women are essential to the food production process. the UN estimates that “if women farmers are given the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry could reduce by as many as 150 million”. Therefore in order to end hunger, we need to create a more gender balanced world, where women have equal access to education, land, inheritance, resources and wages.
Now I know many of you are thinking, hang on a minute; we can’t actually affect any of these major policies. Well do not be alarmed, because there are ways that even individuals can get in on achieving zero hunger:
- Freeze fresh produce and leftovers if you don’t have the chance to eat them in a few days, this way you don’t contribute to the food waste when millions are going hungry around the world
- If you have any food items you no longer want or need donate them to a food bank, shelter or an NGO that distributes food around your community
- Eat less meat, poultry, and fish. Now I’m not saying become a vegetarian, however, millions of tonnes of food are being used to feed livestock around the world annually, that could be used to feed malnourished people. We could at least try reducing the demand for it and an added bonus is that it also positively affects the environment, a win-win situation.
- All you tech and social media savvy people!! Let your voice be heard, sign petitions and post about zero hunger on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
- Volunteer for a nonprofit involved in poverty reduction and food security or get involved in community projects
Ending world hunger should be a priority for us all. Global policymakers should implement policies that address food insecurity and malnutrition while promoting sustainable food systems and agriculture. However, we also have a role to play towards the goal, we need to change our attitudes towards food waste. We can also get involved with community projects, volunteerism, food donations and social media to help push for zero hunger. I believe that by 2030 the worlds hungry would have decreased. I just hope that it will be a substantial decrease and that the SDGs will yield more results than the MDGs ever could