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Undernutrition accounts for 45% of global deaths in children under five years old. In the future, climate change and unsustainable agricultural practices will increase this amount if mankind does not do something now. - Photo Credit: Pixabay
Today, 795 million people are undernourished. Most of them are concentrated in developing countries in Asia and Africa, with the former being home to two thirds of the total amount. The numbers for Sub-Saharan Africa are alarming as well, as “projections for the 2014-2016 period indicate a rate of undernourishment of almost 23 percent” (UN, 2015). This means that nearly one in four people living in the region are not meeting their daily nutrient requirements. As harmful as it can be on adults, once again this issue affects children on a deeper level. Poor nutrition is responsible for the death of 3.1 million children under the age of five every year, it also causes stunting in one in three kids living in developing countries and 65 million primary-school age children go to class hungry. This affects their ability to focus, as well as impairs their mental development and faculties, putting them at a disadvantage compared to their well-nourished peers. It is imperative to end hunger. Undernutrition compromises people’s immune system, which increases the risk for various illnesses, including ongoing epidemics such as AIDS, moreover, hunger severs people’s productivity and costs millions of lives each year.
Of course, directly feeding people is not a sustainable way to end hunger. With roughly 7 billion people walking the planet and expecting 2 more by 2050, mankind must re-examine how it is producing and consuming food. If done right, agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide us all with nutritious food as well as generate millions of jobs, but it must be done in a way that helps the planet heal after centuries of systematic abuse, so it allows for more to be produced.
GLOBAL GOAL 2: END HUNGER, ACHIEVE FOOD SECURITY AND IMPROVED NUTRITION AND PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
Source: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
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Global Goal 2 seeks to end hunger and achieve food security for all, as well as sustainable food production and consumption by 2030 - Photo Credit: GlobalGoals.org
- By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.
- 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.
- By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small scale food producers, 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.
- 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 and that progressively improve land and soil quality.
- 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.
The general guidelines to end hunger and achieve food security for all provided by the 2030 Agenda are comprised of 5 main actions that can be adapted to the reality of each country. It is expected of all countries to use these tools nationally and to develop strategic alliances with other countries in order to achieve Global Goal 2. A summary of these five actions is provided below:
- Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and technology development to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries.
- Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets.
- Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility.
Fulfilling these task would mean to end hunger, or significantly reduce it by 2030.