Objectifs de développement durable

Hunger rise examined, sustainable food and agriculture potential explored in SDGs global review

A youth waters a garden in Sierra Leone

Are we on course to achieve Zero Hunger and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030? Where are we making progress, and what do we need to do to step up efforts?

These are the key questions that will be addressed by the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which brings together the world community from 9 to 18 July to evaluate progress on the promises countries have made to build a prosperous future free from hunger and poverty.

Watch live via UN Web TV.

Government ministers, business leaders, mayors, the scientific community, foundations, UN agencies and civil society organizations are among the 2000 representatives expected to attend this year’s forum - the third annual meeting since the SDGs were established in 2015. Some 47 countries are set to share their success stories and lessons learned to meet the global goals through Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), key information that will shape the ministerial declaration presented at the end of the HLPF’s three-day ministerial meeting (16-18 July).

Taking place under the theme “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”, five goals fall under the spotlight in 2018: Water and sanitation (Goal 6); affordable and clean energy (Goal 7); sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11); responsible consumption and production (Goal 12); life on land (Goal 15), as well as Goal 17 on strengthening the means of implementation and revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development is also reviewed every year at the HLPF.

Hunger on the rise

So far, the news is mixed. Released ahead of the forum, the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 shows that while more people are living better, achieving the SDGs by 2030 is being made more difficult by a series of challenges that include climate change, protracted conflicts, growing inequality, rapid urbanization, rising trade tensions, elevated debt levels and a rise in hunger.

In his foreword to the report, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, writes: “After a prolonged decline, the number of undernourished people rose from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, mainly due to conflicts and drought and disasters linked to climate change.”

FAO, which in September is set to deliver fresh figures on world hunger as well as new numbers on global food insecurity, will issue in New York an urgent call to tackle the root causes of hunger in order to get back on track. A recent publication, Transforming Food and Agriculture to achieve the SDGs, outlines 20 actions to guide decision-makers plan integrated approaches that confront real issues that countries face to achieve food security. The actions embrace the three dimensions of sustainable development while focusing first on people left furthest behind.

“Achieving zero hunger by 2030 will require renewed efforts to tackle the root causes of poverty and inequality, promoting a rural transformation that empowers rural people as agents of change,” said Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General Climate and Natural Resources.

The importance of addressing the needs of urban and rural communities together and linking responsible consumption and sustainable production will be a key theme of an FAO-led side-event, Strengthening rural-urban linkages for inclusive and resilient societies and healthy ecosystems, co-hosted with UN Habitat and IFAD on 13 July. Prominent in several other side-events and sessions, FAO will emphasise the positive impact that transforming food systems and empowering small-scale producers can have on the SDGs under review and the 2030 Agenda as a whole (see FAO side-event schedule below).

“Adopting a more integrated approach to food system development can help boost small-scale farmers’ productivity and incomes; deliver food security and nutrition; promote sustainable production and consumption and cut food loss and waste; sustainably manage vital ecosystem services, land, water and energy, while mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change,” said Rene Castro, FAO Assistant Director-General for Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water, who is heading the Organization’s delegation at the forum.

The magic of forests

The critical role of forests to human well-being and to the health of the planet featured on the eve of the Forum, 8 July, when FAO’s flagship publication, the State of the World’s Forests (SOFO), was presented at an event organized by the UN’s Forum on Forests,Forest-based Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies: Lessons Learned and Success Stories

Highlighting forests’ contribution to multiple SDGs including and beyond SDG15, SOFO 2018 presents new information on the impact sustainable forest management can have on poverty eradication, food production, nutrition, biodiversity conservation, clean water, sustainable energy use and sustainable cities, encompassing all of the SDGs under review at the HLPF. Along with the need for government ministries to coordinate plans across sectors, the publication underlines the importance of building an enabling environment that engages forest communities and stakeholders, provides clear legal frameworks, incentivizes the private sector and builds broader partnerships that balance interests and manage sector trade-offs to ensure all actors pull in the same direction.

The build up to this year’s forum involved regional forums and meetings on the goals under review, with outcomes also contributing to the ministerial declaration.

Coming into force in January 2016, the SDGs, including 17 goals and 169 targets monitored by 232 indicators, are a global plan to tackle poverty, hunger and achieve sustainable development by 2030.

FAO-participating side events

Date and Time (all times New York)


Sunday, 8 July

Forest-based Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies: Lessons Learned and Success Stories 

Monday, 9 July       6:30pm – 8:00pm

Vanishing Waters and Drying Lands: Impacts on Migration

Wednesday, 11 July 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Policy Coherence across the Agenda 2030: The role of food and nutrition

Thursday, 12 July
6:30pm – 8:00pm

Safe food for sustainable and resilient societies

Friday, 13 July
1:15pm – 2:30pm

Strengthening rural urban linkages for inclusive and resilient societies and healthy ecosystems

Monday, 16 July     1:15pm – 2:45pm

Making the most of SDG 6 implementation – for benefits from source to sea

Monday, 16 July      6:30pm – 8:00pm

Mountains and Sustainable Development Goals  

Monday, 16 July
6:30pm – 8:00pm

Multi-stakeholder action for responsible consumption and production: holistic approaches for sustainable food systems

Monday, 16 July
6:30pm – 8:00pm

Ministerial Dinner: Innovations and Solutions for Safeguarding Life on Earth

Tuesday, 17 July
1:00pm – 3:00pm

Launch of the High Ambition Alliance on Chemicals and Waste


For more information

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

Voluntary National Reviews Database

Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018

FAO and the Sustainable Development Goals

FAO Liaison Office in New York