In a time when food production has flourished and developed countries produce more food than ever, there are almost 800 million people in the world who do not have enough food to lead a healthy and active life.
This represents one in nine people on earth! The highest number of hungry people is in Asia (two-thirds of the total) while the highest prevalence of hunger is in Sub-Saharan Africa. Poor nutrition causes nearly half of deaths in children under five years old, and roughly 100 million children in developing countries are underweight. Since 1990, global hunger has been reduced by more than 34%. However, there are still many people who are facing hunger today.
To reach the goal of all people having access to sufficient, safe, nutritious and sustainable food, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon launched the Zero Hunger Challenge. This is a call for action which presents the vision of the world free from hunger, where at the same time, it is possible to face the growing demand for food and meet new environmental challenges. The Zero Hunger Challenge set several goals to end hunger in our lifetime: No stunted children less than two years of age
- 100 percent access to adequate food all year round
- All food systems are sustainable
- 100 percent increase in smallholder productivity and income
- Zero loss or waste of food.
In order to transform our food system and end hunger, the United Nations released the all new Agenda 2030 sustainable development plan:
- An End to Malnutrition in All Its Forms: Malnutrition is both a driver and an outcome of poverty and inequality. Undernutrition leading to stunting which causes irreversible damage to both individuals and society. Obesity in childhood is a growing problem in all regions. Ensuring universal access to nutritious food in the 1000-day window of opportunity between the start of pregnancy and a child’s second birthday is essential to prevent stunting. This should be supported by a multi-sectoral approach which includes nutrition-sensitive healthcare, water, sanitation, education, agriculture, social protection and specific nutrition interventions, coupled with initiatives that enable the empowerment of women.
- Access Adequate Food and Healthy Diets, for All People, All Year Round: Access to food that forms the basis of healthy and diverse diets is intricately linked to both rights– particularly equity and women’s rights.
- All food systems are sustainable: from production to consumption; Sustainable food systems deliver food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised. The effects of climate change require sustainable and climate-compatible farming practices.
- Adapt all food systems to eliminate loss or waste of food: Minimizing food losses during production, storage, and transport, and the waste of food by retailers and consumers; empowering consumer choice; commitments by producers, retailers and consumers within all nations.
- An end to rural poverty: double small scale producer incomes and productivity; Ending rural poverty requires a determined effort to increase the income of the small-scale farmers which holds the key to feeding sustainably a growing global population. This involves improving people’s well-being through sustainable livelihoods: increasing smallholders’ income and productivity and decent rural employment.
In the world of plenty, no one should be hungry. By 2050, there will be 9 billion people in the world, so we must work together to ensure that everyone gets the food that they need. It is now up to everyone including: governments, businesses, civil society, farmers, and individuals to join together and eradicate hunger in our world. This is because when you zero out hunger, the possibilities become infinite.
Image source: UN Zero Hunger
Video source: UN Zero Hunger Videos