Sustainable Development Goals

Vision to end hunger captured among new global goals


A commitment to eradicate hunger and poverty by 2030, greater attention to rural actors and the link between food security and the sustainable management of natural resources feature strongly among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the 193 UN Member States at a special Summit in New York between 25 and 27 September.

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More than 150 world leaders are expected to attend the UN Sustainable Development Summit at the UN Headquarters to adopt Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the successor global framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) from 2016.

The SDGs are relevant to both developing and developed nations. Besides eliminating poverty and hunger, the main focus of the MDGs, Agenda 2030 stresses sustainable development, with actions for environmental, social and economic impacts.

Targets relating to food security, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, sustainable management of natural resources and rural development are prominent in the SDGs, placing the transformation of food systems and working with natural resources at the heart of the new global goals.

“The SDGs are a major step forward in tackling the root causes of poverty and hunger, and degradation of our natural resources,” said José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General. “Feeding almost 800 million hungry and a growing world population while nourishing the planet, all in the face of climate change, will be a massive challenge but the SDGs offer a broad and detailed plan to tackle the great development challenges of our times.

“The twin pillars of the new Agenda – ending poverty and hunger, and sustainable development - are a core feature of FAO's strategic framework. The SDGs move beyond conservation to working with natural resources, and emphasize the role of food security and rural development in bringing about inclusive growth and shared well-being.”

The great majority of the 17 SDGs are relevant to FAO’s work. SDG1, End poverty, includes targets related to social protection, land rights and resilience. SDG2 is dedicated to ending hunger and food insecurity, improving nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture. It features a series of complementary measures to raise the productivity and incomes of rural livelihoods through sustainable use of land and other natural resources. The link between food security and natural resources features prominently in SDG14, oceans and marine resources, SDG15, ecosystems, biodiversity, forests and land, as well as the goals on water (SDG6), energy (SDG7), gender (SDG5), climate change (SDG13), and consumption and production (SDG12).

Other goals include health (SDG3), education (SDG4), growth and decent work (SDG8), infrastructure and industrialization (SDG9), inequality (SDG10), cities (SDG11), peace (SDG16) and means of implementation (SDG17).

Generation Zero Hunger

Graziano da Silva will participate in several events in New York, including an interactive dialogue at the Summit on Ending poverty and hunger and a side event hosted by the Rome-based UN food and agriculture agencies (RBAs), Mobilizing Generation Zero Hunger, where discussion will centre on the recent RBA report on Achieving Zero Hunger – the critical role of investments in social protection and agriculture.

“The most important factor in achieving our global goals will be political commitment,” added the FAO Director-General. “The study by the Rome-based agencies outlines the type and cost of investments needed to end poverty and hunger by 2030 – achieving the first two SDGs. It underscores the need to invest in poor and vulnerable people, and that the battle against poverty must be fought in rural areas. The investment is viable and affordable.”

Along with the 17 SDGs, the new Agenda consists of a Declaration, 169 targets, a section on means of implementation and renewed global partnership, and a framework for review and follow-up.

The 2030 Agenda, decided on by UN Member States following a consultative process with multiple actors over more than two years, will now serve as the basis for action by the international community and by governments to advance shared prosperity and well-being for all. The goals are expected to become the main international reference for national development policies and programmes over the next 15 years.

The SDGs build on agreement reached in July in Addis Ababa on effective mobilization of resources and use of financing for development at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. It is expected that they will also positively affect negotiations on a universal climate agreement in Paris this December. 

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