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Zero hunger

Apr 13,2017 - Last updated at Apr 13,2017

Every man, woman and child has the right to adequate food, yet one in nine people in the world today are undernourished.

According to facts and figures from the United Nations, there are around 795 million people hungry around the world, the vast majority of whom live in developing countries, where 12.9 per cent of the population is undernourished.

Asia is the continent with the biggest number of hungry people — two thirds of the total.

The percentage in Southern Asia has fallen in recent years, but in Western Asia, it has slightly increased.

According to the UN secretary-general’s report “Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals”, issued in 2016, 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 2000-2002, to 11 per cent, according to figures for 2014-2016.

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.

This target was set in September 2015 when all UN member states endorsed the 2030 agenda, a plan of action to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions: economic, social and environmental.

The 2030 agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the second goal of which (SDG 2) is “zero hunger”.

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.

Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45 per cent) of deaths in children under five — 3.1 million children each year.

Extreme hunger and malnutrition remains a barrier to sustainable development and creates a trap from which people cannot easily escape.

It is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food.

Hunger and malnutrition mean less productive individuals, who are more prone to disease and thus often unable to earn more and improve their livelihoods.

If done right, agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centred rural development and protecting the environment.

A profound change of the global food and agriculture system is needed if we are to nourish today’s nearly 800 million hungry and the additional 2 billion people expected by 2050.

Among the targets defined under SDG2 to achieve by 2030 are: ending hunger and ensuring access by all people to safe nutritious food all year round; ending all forms of malnutrition; doubling the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers; ensuring sustainable food production systems and implementing resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production.

One can make changes in one’s life — at home, at work and in the community — by supporting local farmers or markets and making sustainable food choices, supporting good nutrition for all, and fighting food waste.

One can also join the Global Movement for Zero Hunger by joining the Zero Hunger Challenge ( to learn more, including more ways to take action.



The writer is the national information officer at the UN Information Centre in Beirut. She contributed this article to The Jordan Times.

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