As the world community finalizes a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, there are a number of 2025 targets associated with “ending hunger” – namely the World Health Assembly Nutrition Targets and the commitment of the Africa Union to “Zero Hunger” by 2025.
Are these 2025 goals in conflict with – or consistent with – the SDGs?
On the downside, having two target dates in the public eye adds confusion at the very time we need to mobilize public support for an already-complicated set of targets.
But – the short answer is – there is no conflict. Here are several reasons:
- Many of the SDGs will need to be met early. Just as the MDG poverty goal was hit 5 years early, we cannot wait until 2030 to reach every goals. The world had better reach some of them first.
- Ending Hunger in Africa is likely to be easier than in South Asia. Most of the world’s hunger is in South Asia, not Africa, and it is more mired in social obstacles (gender and caste discrimination) than in Africa.
- Ending Hunger in Africa is a stepping stone to ending poverty. As the World Bank has shown (WDR 2008), investments in agriculture has twice the poverty-fighting power as other investments. So – for Africa to end extreme poverty, it would be smart to end hunger by 2025.
- The World Health Assembly Nutrition Targets are not “zero goals.” They were adopted in 2012, before the “Zero Goal” paradigm of the SDGs was formulated. They are proportional goals – part-way but still ambitious goals the way the MDGs were. There will still be hunger in the world when these six targets are met, although meeting them would be a good indicator that hunger could be ended by 2030.
Key Facts about the Africa Union Zero Hunger Commitment
- July 2013: Brazil’s former President, who carried out Brazil’s Zero Hunger program, facilitated a High Level meeting of the AU at which the Zero Hunger Commitment was made.Click here to download the declaration. The declaration pledges to:
- End hunger by 2025 within the CAADP Framework.
- Strengthen systems for inter-sectoral collaboration among institutions and for co-operation with non-state actors (farmers organizations, civil society, academia, and private sector)
- Commit targeted budget lines for social protection to enable the poor to re-engage in economic activity;
- Increase support for youth and small-holders, especially women.
- June 2014: One year later, in the Malabo Declaration (click here to read) the heads of state fleshed out these pledges with specific targets and action commitments, including:
- Double agricultural productivity
- Cut post-harvest losses in half
- Cut poverty in half by 2025
- Reduce stunting to 10% (from current levels averaging 40%). This is a tremendously ambitious goal, that far exceeds the WHO target
- Reduce wasting to 5% (consistent with the WHO target)
- Create agricultural jobs for 30% of the youth
- Call upon the AU Commission and NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) to develop an implementation strategy and roadmap and report to the January 2015 AU Summit
- January 2015: Here is the AU Implementation Strategy and Roadmap