World's 2030 goals put hunger and agriculture at the center of global policy

Eradication of hunger the linchpin for sustainable development agenda, FAO chief tells world leaders

25 September 2015, New York - Food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture are key to achieving the entire set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva has told world leaders in a plenary address at United Nations headquarters.

"We have given ourselves an enormous task, that begins with the historic commitment of not only reducing but also eradicating poverty and hunger in a sustainable way," he said during his speech at the UN's Sustainable Development Summit.

Fourteen of the 17 new SDGs adopted at the summit are related to FAO's historic mission, the Director-General noted. The second goal - which is "to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture" - must be urgently pursued as rapid progress on that front is the key to the other goals, he added.

Sustainable agriculture and zero hunger

"We can only rest when we achieve zero hunger," Graziano da Silva said.

The SDGs follow and expand on the Millennium Development Goals, established in 2001 and ending this year, which set a hunger reduction target that was met by more than half of the countries monitored by FAO. But nearly 800 million people still suffer from chronic undernourishment.

A majority of the world's poor and hungry live in rural areas, and improving their livelihoods is the core challenge, Graziano da Silva said.

Doing so will require promoting inclusive growth and making responsible investments that address the needs of the world's poor, he said.

"We need to build more sustainable agriculture and food systems, that are resilient to stresses and better able to cope with - and respond to - climate change impact," he added.

Investing in environmentally sustainable agriculture on its own will not suffice, and well-designed social protection systems will also be required, Graziano da Silva added.

He reminded world leaders that in the next 15 years an additional investment of 160 dollars per year per person living in extreme poverty is needed to end hunger.

"This represents less than half percent of global income in 2014. And it is only a small fraction of the cost that hunger and malnutrition impose on economies, societies and people," he said.

Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva addresses the UN Sustainable Development Summit.