The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development prioritizes scaled up, transformational action to eradicate extreme poverty, end hunger and all forms of malnutrition.
SDG2 adopts a multidimensional, people-centric approach by adopting a Zero Hunger vision that emphasizes the crucial role of the rural poor, most of whom grow food, but not enough to escape poverty or hunger, as critical change agents in any effective scheme to eliminate these scourges. The SDG vision recognizes that 80 percent of those who are extremely poor live in rural areas—and that we cannot end poverty as the UN defines poverty (“SDG 1.1: “living on less than $1.25 a day”) without tackling poverty at its source: in the rural areas. Sixty percent of the rural poor also grow food. Worldwide, family farmers—including fishers, aquaculturalists, pastoralists and herders as well as indigenous peoples—are responsible for 70 percent of food production; most of these food producers are poor.
Improving off-farm employment in food production systems and other agricultural processing is also linked to increased youth employment and improved household resilience. Family farmers are responsible for maintaining 85 percent of the world’s plant and animal biodiversity for food, but are seldom recognized or compensated for their role in conservation of biodiversity or for the ecosystem services they provide in doing so. Sustainable food production systems, and improved rural productivity and incomes are critical for sustaining an agricultural transition and especially important contributors to the early stages of industrialization.
The commitments of the Addis Ababa Agenda for Action (AAAA) establish a robust universal framework to support effective national action and international cooperation by mobilizing appropriate means of implementation (MoI) to achieve the Zero Hunger vision at the heart of the SDGs. At its core, the shared objective of all SDG2-related commitments is to create an enabling environment in which the rural poor are empowered to become major contributors as well as beneficiaries of sustainable development.
Collectively, the broad array of SDG and AAAA commitments presents a comprehensive and highly ambitious agenda for concerted action. For monitoring and reporting purposes, these commitments can be clustered around five major themes, as indicated below. This summary report highlights a selection of major developments and milestones achieved to meet the SDG and AAAA commitments during 2016.
Commitments to adopt policies, measures, rules and regulations that ensure inclusive access of family farmers and the rural poor to productive resources, including, inter alia, women’s ownership of land, access to appropriate technology and know-how, incentives for conservation of biodiversity and protection of natural resources, and equitable rural access to finance.
World Health Assembly (WHA): Delegates to the 69th WHA in May 2016 adopted two resolutions on nutrition. The first, in response to the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, urges countries to make concrete policy and financial commitments to improve people’s diets. The second welcomed WHO guidance on ending the inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children, urged regulation of marketing breast milk substitutes, and laid out key principles of how health professionals should interact with companies that market complementary foods. WHO was asked to report back in 2018 and 2020.
The International Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition hosted by FAO in early December 2016 identified drivers for food system approaches leading to healthy diets and eradication of all forms of malnutrition. The symposium identified nutrition-driven food systems as key to ensuring healthy diet, eradicate malnutrition, and addressing challenges posed by non-transmittable diseases, complemented by measures targeted to consumers. Delegates also highlighted the fundamental role of women as a priority target for actions and intervention.