Speaking at last week’s United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) chief told world leaders that the global 2030 goals put hunger and agriculture at the centre of global policy – adding that the eradication of hunger is the linchpin for the sustainable development agenda.
Indeed, he noted that 14 of the 17 new SDGs adopted at the summit are related to FAO's historic mission.
The FAO director-general warned that the second sustainable development goal – which is ‘to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture’ – must be urgently pursued as rapid progress on that front is the key to the success and completion of other goals.
"We have given ourselves an enormous task that begins with the historic commitment of not only reducing but also eradicating poverty and hunger in a sustainable way," said Graziano da Silva.
"We can only rest when we achieve zero hunger," he warned.
Sustainable agriculture and zero hunger
The new 2030 sustainable development goals follow and expand on the Millennium Development Goals – established in 2001 and ending this year – which set a hunger reduction target that was met by more than half of the countries monitored by FAO.
However, the FAO noted that nearly 800 million people still suffer from chronic undernourishment.
Graziano da Silva said that with the a majority of the world's poor and hungry live in rural areas, improving their livelihoods is the core challenge.
"We need to build more sustainable agriculture and food systems, that are resilient to stresses and better able to cope with - and respond to - climate change impact," he said – adding that investing in environmentally sustainable agriculture on its own will not suffice, and well-designed social protection systems will also be required.
A small fraction to end world hunger
Graziano da Silva also reminded world leaders that in the next 15 years, an additional investment of 160 dollars (€143) per year for every person living in extreme poverty is needed to end hunger.
"This represents less than half percent of global income in 2014,” he said. “And it is only a small fraction of the cost that hunger and malnutrition impose on economies, societies and people.”