SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDG) 2

  • According to a recent report by the United Nation, the goal of achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2 i.e. ‘Zero Hunger’ has been hit in the wake of the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
  • The zero hunger goal works in tandem with many others: Poverty elimination (SDG1), good health and well-being (SDG3), and the need for clean drinking water (SDG6).

Important points:

  • Food security does not only rely on food availability, but also on food access.
  • If food security and poverty can be seen as part of the same battle, reduction of poverty should not only be sought through lower food prices but also through higher income.
  • Nutrition is key to good health, so the relation between SDG 2 and SDG 3 is also synergetic.
  • Environmental health through a more sustainable agriculture also establishes a link between SDG2 and SDG 3.
  • Biomass burning causes air pollution and land clearing contributes to fuel combustion emissions.
  • Agriculture ammonia emissions also impact human health. They are behind several hundred thousand premature deaths per year globally.
  • Gender inequality makes several women food insecure: Female workers are a substantial share of the agricultural workforce, but face difficulties in accessing land, livestock, education, extension and financial services.
  • Decent work and economic growth (SDG8) and reduction of inequality (SDG10) can also support better nutrition by going beyond SDG1 and bringing economic resources.

Challenges:

  • One of the most widely studied adverse environmental impacts of the food system is its contribution to climate change
  • The food system contributes 34% of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Overconsumption of water resources is another critical challenge faced by agriculture.
  • Irrigation represents about 70% of global water withdrawals, and this demand is expected to continue to increase in the coming decades.
  • Excess use of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) is harmful for terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
  • Excess of N causes acidification of soils and freshwater; Nitrous oxide (N2O) causes climate-warming emissions and stratospheric ozone depletion.

Suggestions:

  • Facilitating new investment, research and innovation for sustainable agriculture.
  • Reducing food waste and losses.
  • Changing our consumption patterns to leverage considerable benefits on SDG outcomes by relieving pressure on natural resources and fostering the health benefits.

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