Publication | 13 August 2020
Every day too many men and women across the globe struggle to feed their children a nutritious meal. In a world where we produce enough food to feed everyone, up to 811 million people still go to bed on an empty stomach each night. Acute food insecurity affected 135 million people in 55 countries in 2019. Even more – one in three – suffer from some form of malnutrition.
Eradicating hunger and malnutrition is one of the great challenges of our time. Not only do the consequences of not enough – or the wrong – food cause suffering and poor health, they also slow progress in many other areas of development like education and employment.
In 2015 the global community adopted the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development to improve people’s lives by 2030. Goal 2 – Zero Hunger – pledges to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, and is the priority of the World Food Programme.
Every day, WFP and its partners work to bring us closer to a zero hunger world. With our humanitarian food assistance, we provide nutritious food to those in urgent need. Meanwhile our complementary programmes address the root causes of hunger, building the resilience of communities, so we don’t need to keep saving the same lives each year.
The world has made great progress in reducing hunger: there are 300 million fewer hungry people than in 1990-92, despite a 1.9 billion increase in the world’s population. But there is still a long way to go, and no one organization can achieve Zero Hunger if it works alone. If we want to see a world free of hunger by 2030, governments, citizens, civil society organizations and the private sector must collaborate to invest, innovate and create lasting solutions.
To realize the full potential of our globalized economy, national governments must expand social protection schemes for the most vulnerable. Providing this opportunity for equitable economic growth will raise the purchasing power of the poorest 2 billion people which in turn will create incremental demand, generating new jobs and jump-starting local economies. Investing in inclusive development isn’t just the right thing to do; it makes good business sense.
Access to affordable, nutritious food for everyone — all 7 billion of us — is vital. We must innovate and invest in making our supply chains more efficient by developing sustainable durable markets. To support these markets, we must also improve rural infrastructure, particularly roads, storage and electrification, ensuring farmers ability to reach a wider consumer base.
About one third of the food we produce each year is lost or wasted, costing the global economy nearly US$ 1 trillion annually. In developed countries food is often wasted on the plate, while in developing countries it is lost during production, as crops go unused or unprocessed because of poor storage or because the farmers cannot get their goods to market.
Today across the globe, four crops (rice, wheat, corn and soy) represent 60 percent of all calories consumed. Addressing the challenges of climate change, and food availability and food access will require helping farmers explore and identify a more diverse range of crops. To achieve this, we must work with farmers ensure they have access to the necessary tools and skills, and build a market by educating communities about the nutritional importance of eating a wide range of foods.
Nothing is more important to the development of a child than good health and nutrition, particularly in the first 1000 days (from conception through to the age of two). To prevent stunting and to promote healthy development, we must ensure that children and nursing mothers have access to the required nutritious foods.