SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 2
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
After a prolonged decline, world hunger appears to be on the rise again. Conflict, drought and disasters linked to climate change are among the key factors causing this reversal in progress.
- The proportion of undernourished people worldwide increased from 10.6 per cent in 2015 to 11.0 per cent in 2016. This translates to 815 million people worldwide in 2016, up from 777 million in 2015.
- In 2017, 151 million children under age 5 suffered from stunting (low height for their age), 51 million suffered from wasting (low weight for height), and 38 million were overweight.
- Aid to agriculture in developing countries totalled $12.5 billion in 2016, falling to 6 per cent of all donors’ sector-allocable aid from nearly 20 per cent in the mid-1980s.
- Progress has been made in reducing market-distorting agricultural subsidies, which were more than halved in five years—from $491 million in 2010 to less than $200 million in 2015
- In 2016, 26 countries experienced high or moderately high levels of general food prices, which may have negatively affected food security.
Source: Report of the Secretary-General, The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018
Efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition have advanced significantly since 2000. Ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition for all, however, will require continued and focused efforts, especially in Asia and Africa. More investments in agriculture, including government spending and aid, are needed to increase capacity for agricultural productivity.
- The proportion of undernourished people worldwide declined from 15 per cent in 2000-2002 to 11 per cent in 2014-2016. About 793 million people are undernourished globally, down from 930 million people during the same period.
- In 2016, an estimated 155 million children under 5 years of age were stunted (too short for their age, a result of chronic malnutrition). Globally, the stunting rate fell from 33 per cent in 2000 to 23 per cent in 2016. Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounted for three quarters of all stunted children that year.
- In 2016, an estimated 52 million children under 5 years of age worldwide suffered from wasting (with a low weight for their height, usually the result of an acute and significant food shortage and/or disease). The global wasting rate in 2016 was 7.7 per cent, with the highest rate (15.4 per cent) in Southern Asia. At the other end of the spectrum, overweight and obesity affected 41 million children under 5 years of age worldwide (6 per cent) in 2016.
- Ending hunger demands sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices. One aspect of that effort is maintaining the genetic diversity of plants and animals, which is crucial for agriculture and food production. In 2016, 4.7 million samples of seeds and other plant genetic material for food and agriculture were preserved in 602 gene banks throughout 82 countries and 14 regional and international centres — a 2 per cent increase since 2014. Animal genetic material has been cryoconserved, but only for 15 per cent of national breed populations, according to information obtained from 128 countries. The stored genetic material is sufficient to reconstitute only 7 per cent of national breed populations should they become extinct. As of February 2017, 20 per cent of local breeds were classified as at risk.
- Increased investments are needed to enhance capacity for agricultural productivity. However, the global agriculture orientation index — defined as agriculture’s share of government expenditure divided by the sector’s share of gross domestic product (GDP) — fell from 0.38 in 2001 to 0.24 in 2013 and to 0.21 in 2015.
- The share of sector-allocable aid allocated to agriculture from member countries of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) fell from nearly 20 per cent in the mid-1980s to 7 per cent in the late 1990s, where it remained through 2015. The decline reflects a shift away from aid for financing infrastructure and production towards a greater focus on social sectors.
- In 2016, 21 countries experienced high or moderately high domestic prices, relative to their historic levels, for one or more staple cereal food commodities. Thirteen of those countries were in sub-Saharan Africa. The main causes of high prices were declines in domestic output, currency depreciation and insecurity. Localized increases in fuel prices also drove food prices higher.
- Some progress has been made in preventing distortions in world agricultural markets. The global agricultural export subsidies were reduced by 94 per cent from 2000 to 2014. In December 2015, members of the World Trade Organization adopted a ministerial decision on eliminating export subsidies for agricultural products and restraining export measures that have a similar effect.
Source: Report of the Secretary-General, “Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals”, E/2017/66
- Goal 2 aims to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030. It also commits to universal access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food at all times of the year. This will require sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices, equal access to land, technology and markets and international cooperation on investments in infrastructure and technology to boost agricultural productivity.
- The fight against hunger has progressed over the past 15 years. Globally, the prevalence of hunger has declined, from 15 per cent according to figures for 2000 to 2002, to 11 per cent according to figures for 2014 to 2016. However, more than 790 million people worldwide still lack regular access to adequate amounts of dietary energy. If current trends continue, the zero hunger target will be largely missed by 2030. Many countries that failed to reach the target set as part of the Millennium Development Goals, of halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, have faced natural and human-induced disasters or political instability, resulting in protracted crises, with increased vulnerability and food insecurity affecting large parts of the population. The persistence of hunger is no longer simply a matter of food availability. More and better data on access to food can enable the tracking of progress and guide interventions to fight food insecurity and malnutrition.
- Globally, in 2014, nearly 1 in 4 children under the age of 5, an estimated total of 159 million children, had stunted growth. Stunting is defined as inadequate height for age, an indicator of the cumulative effects of undernutrition and infection. Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounted for three quarters of the children under 5 with stunted growth in 2014. Another aspect of child malnutrition is the growing share of children who are overweight, a problem affecting nearly every region. Globally, between 2000 and 2014, the percentage of children under the age of 5 who were overweight grew from 5.1 per cent to 6.1 per cent.
- Ending hunger and malnutrition relies heavily on sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices. Genetic diversity in livestock breeds is crucial for agriculture and food production since it allows for the raising of farm animals in a wide range of environments and provides the basis for diverse products and services. Globally, 20 per cent of local livestock breeds, meaning breeds reported in only one country, are at risk of extinction. Another 16 per cent of breeds are stable, and the status of the remaining local breeds is unknown owing to a lack of data. The figures exclude livestock breeds that have already become extinct.
- To increase the productive capacity of agriculture, more investment is needed, both public and private, from domestic and foreign sources. However, recent trends in government spending are not favourable. The agriculture orientation index, defined as agriculture’s share of government expenditures divided by the sector’s share of gross domestic product (GDP), fell globally from 0.37 to 0.25 between 2001 and 2013. The decline in the index was interrupted only temporarily during the food price crisis of 2006 to 2008, when governments increased agricultural spending.
- Since the late 1990s, the percentage of aid for supporting agriculture in developing countries has been stable at around 8 per cent, when measured as a share of sector-allocable aid from member countries of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This has decreased, from a peak of 20 per cent in the mid-1980s, as a result of donors beginning to focus more on improving governance, building social capital and bolstering fragile States.
- One of the targets for Goal 2 calls for correcting and preventing distortions in world agricultural markets, including the elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies. Those subsidies mask market signals, reduce competitiveness and can lead to environmental damage and the inequitable distribution of benefits. That said, some progress is being made, with members of the World Trade Organization adopting a ministerial decision, in December 2015, on eliminating export subsidies for agricultural products and restraining export measures that have an equivalent effect.
- Source: Report of the Secretary-General, “Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals”, E/2016/75
The global indicator framework was developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and agreed to, as a practical starting point at the 47th session of the UN Statistical Commission held in March 2016. The report of the Commission, which included the global indicator framework, was then taken note of by ECOSOC at its 70th session in June 2016. More information.
|2.1 By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round||2.1.1 Prevalence of undernourishment|
|2.1.2 Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population, based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)|
|2.2 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||2.2.1 Prevalence of stunting (height for age <-2 standard deviation from the median of the World Health Organization (WHO) Child Growth Standards) among children under 5 years of age|
|2.2.2 Prevalence of malnutrition (weight for height >+2 or <-2 standard deviation from the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards) among children under 5 years of age, by type (wasting and overweight)|
|2.3 By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, 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||2.3.1 Volume of production per labour unit by classes of farming/pastoral/forestry enterprise size|
|2.3.2 Average income of small-scale food producers, by sex and indigenous status|
|2.4 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, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality||2.4.1 Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture|
|2.5 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, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed||2.5.1 Number of plant and animal genetic resources for food and agriculture secured in either medium- or long-term conservation facilities|
|2.5.2 Proportion of local breeds classified as being at risk, not at risk or at unknown level of risk of extinction|
|2.a Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries||2.a.1 The agriculture orientation index for government expenditures|
|2.a.2 Total official flows (official development assistance plus other official flows) to the agriculture sector|
|2.b Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets, including through the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round||2.b.1 Agricultural export subsidies|
|2.c Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility||2.c.1 Indicator of food price anomalies|