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Sustainable Development Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

There is more than enough food produced today to feed everyone, yet close to 800 million people are chronically undernourished and malnutrition affects almost one in three people on the planet

Chief among the great challenges the world faces is how to ensure that a growing global population - projected to rise to around 10 billion by 2050 – has enough quality food to meet their nutritional needs for an active and healthy life. This for a planet experiencing increasing water and land scarcity, soil, land and biodiversity degradation, a deteriorating natural resource base and more frequent and severe weather events.

To feed another two billion people in 2050, food production will need to increase by 50 percent globally and to nearly double in developing countries. The situation is complicated further by the impact of climate change on agriculture.

Nourishing more people while nurturing the planet will be a monumental challenge, but it can be achieved by transforming food and agriculture systems, shifting to more sustainable and diversified consumption and production, improving governance and securing the political will to act.

In SDG2, food security is addressed as a complex condition requiring a holistic approach and involving a series of complementary actions targeting the access dimension of food security, all forms of malnutrition, the productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, resilience of food production systems and the sustainable use of biodiversity and genetic resources.

Achieving zero hunger is at the heart of FAO’s work, and the Organization is working with governments and partners to mainstream food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture in public policies and programmes.

Facts and figures

  • Around 800 million people in the world, or about one in nine, suffer from hunger
  • The number of hungry has fallen by 167 million over the past decade and by 216 million since 1990–92
  • About one in four people living in sub-Saharan Africa suffers from chronic hunger, but the region with the largest number of undernourished is Southern Asia (281 million)
  • The world has the capacity to produce enough food to feed everyone adequately
  • Agricultural production will have to increase by an estimated 50 percent by 2050 to meet projected demands for food and feed from a world population projected to rise to over nine billion people by 2050
  • More than one in four children under the age of five are stunted (too short for their age) due to chronic undernutrition
  • More than two billion people suffer from one or more micronutrient deficiencies or “hidden hunger”
  • About 1.9 billion people are overweight, of whom 600 million are obese.
  • World agricultural production has grown on average between 2 and 4 percent per year over the last 50 years, while the cultivated area (permanent cropland and arable land) has grown by only 1 percent annually
  • The world land area dedicated to agriculture is 38.5 percent
  • Smallholder farms (i.e. less than 2 hectares) represent over 90 percent of the world’s 570 million farms, producing most of the world’s food
  • An estimated 75 percent of crop genetic diversity has been lost since the 1900s; 17 percent of the world’s livestock breeds are classified as being at risk of extinction
  • Just 3 crop species (wheat, rice and maize) represent virtually half of the average daily calories consumed by the world population; and five animal species (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chicken) provide 31 percent of average daily protein consumed

SDG2 Targets

  1. By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.
  2. By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.
  3. By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.
  4. By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.
  5. By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed.

a. Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries.

b. Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets, including through the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round.

c. Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility.

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