SDG 2: Targets and Indicators

Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Target 2.1 By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.

  • Indicator 2.1.1: Prevalence of undernourishment
  • Indicator 2.1.2: Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population, based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)

Target 2.2 By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.

  • Indicator 2.2.1: Prevalence of stunting (height for age <-2 standard deviation from the median of the World Health Organization (WHO) Child Growth Standards) among children under 5 years of age
  • Indicator 2.2.2: Prevalence of malnutrition (weight for height >+2 or <-2 standard deviation from the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards) among children under 5 years of age, by type (wasting and overweight)

Target 2.3 By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.

  • Indicator 2.3.1: Volume of production per labour unit by classes of farming/pastoral/forestry enterprise size
  • Indicator 2.3.2: Average income of small-scale food producers, by sex and indigenous status

Target 2.4 By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.

  • Indicator 2.4.1: Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture

Target 2.5 By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed.

  • Indicator 2.5.1: Number of plant and animal genetic resources for food and agriculture secured in either medium or long-term conservation facilities
  • Indicator 2.5.2: Proportion of local breeds classified as being at risk, not-at-risk or at unknown level of risk of extinction

Target 2.A Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries.

  • Indicator 2.A.1: The agriculture orientation index for government expenditures
  • Indicator 2.A.2: Total official flows (official development assistance plus other official flows) to the agriculture sector

Target 2.B Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets, including through the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round.

  • Indicator 2.B.1: Agricultural export subsidies

Target 2.C Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility.

  • Indicator 2.C.1: Indicator of food price anomalies

Where to find data?

The Statistics Division of the UN (UNSD) allows us to get information for the different indicators by country, such as the example below for Bangladesh.

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

Zero hunger is the short title for SDG 2, but it means a lot more. This goal includes aspects regarding food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture. The food and agriculture sectors offer key solutions to the sustainable development question and are central not only to eradicate hunger, but also poverty.

In order to be able to achieve the transformation needed, above all, we have to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food. If done right, agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centered rural development and protecting the environment. However, right now, the soils, freshwater, oceans, forests and biodiversity of our planet are being rapidly degraded and climate change is putting even more pressure on the resources we depend on.

A profound change of the global food and agriculture system is essential if we are to nourish the people who are hungry today and to prevent the expected undernourishment beyond 2030. Investments in agriculture are crucial to increase the capacity for agricultural productivity and sustainable food production systems are necessary to help alleviate the hazards of hunger.

The number of people going hungry has increased since 2014. An estimated 821 million people were undernourished in 2017. The prevalence of undernourishment has remained almost unchanged in the past three years at a level slightly below 11%. This reversal in progress sends a clear warning that more must be done and urgently if the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger is to be achieved by 2030.

Hunger in the world

The fight against hunger has seen some progress over the past 15 years. Globally, the proportion of undernourished people declined from 15% in 2000-2002 to 11% in 2014-2016. However, more than 790 million people still lack regular access to adequate food. If current trends continue, the zero hunger target will be largely missed by 2030.

The persistence of hunger is no longer a matter of food availability. Rather, in many countries that failed to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) hunger target, natural and human-induced disasters or political instability have resulted in food insecurity affecting large groups of the population.

Right now, estimates from the Food Insecurity Experience Scale—available for about 150 countries in 2014 and 2015—reveal that food insecurity is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. More than half of the adult population in that region faced moderate or severe levels of food insecurity, and one-quarter faced severe levels. Southern Asia had the second highest prevalence: around 25% of adults there experienced moderate or severe food insecurity, and 12% experienced severe levels.

Achieving this goal will require improving the productivity and incomes of small-scale farmers by promoting equal access to land, technology and markets, sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices. It also requires increased investments through international cooperation to bolster the productive capacity of agriculture in developing countries.

Hunger and children

Children are the most severely affected by the lack of food since it leads to undernutrition and, consequently, to stunted growth. In 2014, an estimated 158.6 million children under age 5 were affected by stunting, defined as inadequate height for age. Chronic undernutrition also puts children at greater risk of dying from common infections, increases the frequency and severity of infections, and contributes to delayed recovery. It is also associated with impaired cognitive ability and reduced school and work performance.

Globally, the proportion of stunted children has fallen in all regions except Oceania. Southern Asia made the most progress between 2000 and 2014, but the region is still home to the largest number of stunted children in the world — 63.9 million. In Sub­Saharan Africa, population growth outpaced progress: the number of stunted children increased from an estimated 50.1 million in 2000 to 57.3 million in 2014. Together, Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for three quarters of children under 5 affected by stunting in 2014.

But, unfortunately and controversially, we can also find the flip side of this coin in the world: the proportion of children under age 5 who are overweight increased from 5% in 2000 to 6% in 2014. Overweight is a growing problem affecting nearly every region. Northern Africa has the highest prevalence of overweight children under 5 (16%), followed by the Caucasus and Central Asia (12%). Globally, 41 million children in this age group are overweight; almost half of them live in Asia and one quarter live in Africa.

What does this mean and what does this look like?

Searching for numbers and concrete examples regarding this SDG, I ended up in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is one of the countries in Southern Asia with still a very high rate of underweight children, 32.6% in 2014.

World Fish brought an aquaculture project to Bangladesh to enhance the incomes, diets and nutrition of smallholder families. Apart from getting to know the countryside in Bangladesh, in the videos it also becomes very clear how life and food are closely related. Even on the village market the amount of product each farmer sells leaves no doubt that each of them has been directly involved in the harvesting.

Fish in Bangladesh

Village market in Bangladesh

This surely is not the case in developed countries where food seems to “grow” in supermarket aisles. But we all do have something in common: food is essential for our wellbeing and our health, and there exist basic guidelines which are applicable to all of us and which we’d better follow. The reasons why we sometimes do not follow these guidelines however are very different, not only because of the country we live in, but also because of our habits and relationship to food.