The United Nations has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and since today is World Food Day, we are focusing on goal no.2: Zero Hunger. The Zero Hunger SDG aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
The number of people suffering from hunger was in steady decline for decades, yet in 2015 this number began to increase once again. According to the UN, nearly 690 million people (8.9% of the world population) are hungry – up by 60 million people, in just five years.
This means that we are not on track to end hunger by 2030. In fact, if these trends continue, the number of people affected by hunger could pass 840 million by 2030.
Why is this happening?
The reasons why hunger is increasing are varied, and include:
- Man-made conflict – destruction of resources and the use of starvation as a tactic of war cause food shortages and disruptions.
- The climate crisis – extreme weather events such as droughts, storms, and landslides damage farms, livestock, and livelihoods.
- Struggling economies – lack of land space, storage facilities, transport, and jobs can make it harder for people to earn an income and buy or grow food to feed themselves.
- Coronavirus – economic decline caused by lockdowns, and the closing of borders, businesses, and markets, have pushed millions of people into poverty.
- Poverty – the leading cause of food insecurity is poverty; some earn so little income from work or what they sell that they cannot afford to purchase more once their supplies run out.
- Discrimination – groups facing discrimination are more likely to be left behind. For example, in many developing countries, women farmers work with fewer resources than their male counterparts, and so are less likely to make a sufficient income.
What can we do about it?
So, what can we do to help turn the tide on hunger?
In order to reach the Zero Hunger SDG by 2030, there are many actions we can take, and resources we can use.
“Governments need to both repurpose old policies and adopt new ones that foster the sustainable production of affordable nutritious foods and promote farmer participation. Policies should promote equality and learning, drive innovation, boost rural incomes, offer safety nets to smallholders and build climate resilience.”
– Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Below are just a few steps you can take to get involved…
- Urge politicians and governments to take this seriously – if you’re in the UK, you can find your local MP’s email here. Include your name and postcode in your email to your MP, and let them know that you want them to take drastic action on hunger and promoting the Zero Hunger SDG in Parliament and policy-making.
- Help make food sustainable – ensuring our food is sustainably produced means that future generations will be able to feed themselves too. There are many ways to make our food systems more sustainable, but to name just a few, we can:
– Invest in a local organic produce scheme
– Try minimising our food waste and asking local supermarkets to donate excess goods to charities
– Try growing our own fruits and veggies at home
– Reduce the amount of meat in our diets by trying campaigns such as Meat-Free Mondays
- Educate yourself and share resources – a simple way to work towards Zero Hunger is to make sure you’re in the loop. Learning and unlearning is crucial to reflecting on our own individual roles which contribute to the issue. Sharing resources is also an incredibly important part of getting the word out, so try reading the below resources and sharing them with educators.
– SDG Resources for Educators
– Discover World’s Largest Lesson resources on all the SDGs and more
– Check out the United Nations SDG book club list for SDG 2