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Ending Hunger Sustainably

Saving the planet does not have to come at the expense of feeding the poor, and vice versa. If governments can implement a series of relatively low-cost initiatives with private-sector support, the world can still wipe out global hunger by 2030 without jeopardizing the fight against climate change.

ROME – In 2015, 193 countries gathered at the United Nations and pledged to end global hunger by 2030 as part of the Agenda for Sustainable Development. With less than a decade to go, prospects for achieving this goal appear bleak. Improving them will require governments and the private sector to address the global food and environmental crises simultaneously.

Food insecurity has increased in recent years as a result of conflicts and climate change, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying global economic crisis. Today, up to 811 million people suffer from hunger, including 132 million additional people who were classified as undernourished during the pandemic. Another three billion people are too poor to afford a healthy diet.

Efforts to fight hunger have traditionally focused on producing more food – but this has come at a high environmental cost. Agriculture depletes 70% of the world’s fresh water and 40% of its land. It has contributed to the near-extinction of around one million species. Food production generates 30% of global greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions and is the leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon.

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