Building the #ZeroHunger Generation

Unit 1: Working for #ZeroHunger

Fighting hunger in five steps

Despite being capable of feeding each and every one of its inhabitants, over 800 million – 1 in every 9 people on our planet – wake up every day knowing that they will not have anything, or almost anything to eat. In wealthy countries too, many kids go to school on an empty stomach, or only eat junk food, which is low-cost but lacking in nutritional substances. However, even more people are overweight. In some parts of the world more people die from obesity than homicide. This means that malnutrition is a global problem.

FAO has developed five objectives to reduce the number of undernourished people from over 800 million to ZERO and improve nutrition.







A perfect plan

Getting countries with different cultures to agree on an issue such as food may really seem like mission impossible.

How can we put FAO’s five steps into practice? FAO’s answer can be summed up in three key words: knowledge, sharing, action. FAO’s staff is composed of agronomists, specialists in forestry, fishery and animal resources, nutritionists, sociologists, anthropologists, scientists, and information management, legal, communication and statistical experts.
All of these people, men and women, contribute to collecting an enormous quantity of data and information on food, agriculture and natural resources, climate change and more, sharing them as much as possible.

Knowledge sharing is indeed a crucial element for FAO strategies. The flame of knowledge, in fact, does not die down with the participation of many, rather, it grows and grows casting an enormous light on the world. It is for this reason that FAO puts those holding ‘the flame’ in touch with those who need to light their candles: farmers, but also governments, companies and institutions that somehow influence the production of food in the present and future, including children and young people – the adults of tomorrow.

Fall Armyworm (FAW) is a ruthless pest which feeds on more than 80 different crop species, and when it arrived in Africa from the Americas, farmers panicked. It was new to their continent and they didn’t know what to do to save their crops! They were tempted to overuse chemical pesticides that can be hazardous to human health, but FAO stepped in immediately, provided the technical and practical advice they needed, developed a special App for farmers and helped South America and Africa to exchange important information. Knowledge can save crops and lives!

The support that FAO offers member states to develop action plans is necessary to transform data and information into concrete change.
Not only do FAO school feeding programmes improve nutrition, they also show students how to grow fruit and vegetables in inexpensive ways, and encourage them to try out their newfound skills at home. The greater community also benefits from the programmes as other food ingredients are sourced from local farmers. In this way, the children eat healthily, and the local economy grows.

Working with FAO and local organizations empowers young people to imagine and start building their own future! Taking action means making the most of personal and environmental resources but in a sustainable way, with people as the change-makers and governments and local authorities encouraged to recognize their respective responsibilities.

Mediating to win
Governments and political leaders, representatives from private companies, farmers and common citizens need a mediator to aid communication and understanding between the various parties. Different interests, diverging cultures and politics can compromise dialogue in the absence of a neutral organization such as FAO. FAO brings together the people or bodies that can share their resources or information with those who need them, defending the rights of the most vulnerable people in society by encouraging governments and institutions to introduce fairer policies.

Take FAW, for example, and how FAO is helping Africa to communicate with the right people in Latin America, so they can learn how to manage this new pest. FAO has a delicate role to play because the projects which can guarantee a future without hunger depend on helping all stakeholders involved to reach agreement.

The  17  SDGs  are  what  the  world  needs  to  become  a  happy  and  safe  place  for  everyone:  the  Sustainable  Development  Goals  of  the  United  Nations.  Zero  Hunger  is  therefore  in  pretty  good  company,  standing  next  to  innovation,  peace,  justice,  clean  energy  and  health,  just  to  mention  a  few.  UN  member  states  officially  pledged  to  do  as  much  as  possible  to  ensure  that  all  17  are  reached  by  2030.  An impossible challenge?  Not  at  all,  but  it  depends  on  each  and  every  one  of  us.