Getting the Private Sector to Contribute Toward Eradicating Hunger by 2030
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Zero Hunger is goal number 2 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set up by the United Nations General Assembly with the aim of achieving a better and sustainable future by 2030. Data indicates that the world is not on track to achieving zero hunger by 2030 as the World Food Programme (WFP) has stated that 135 million people still suffer from acute hunger and the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated it, putting an additional 130 million people at risk of hunger.

With 9 years remaining on the zero-hunger milestone and the threat of a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Zero Hunger, Nourish the Future Pledge” was introduced in the United Nations Food Systems Pre-summit in Rome in July 2021 to pursue an all-hands-on-deck approach, particularly getting the private sector to contribute toward ending hunger by 2030. Concretely, the goal is for the private sector including corporations, investment funds, and philanthropists to collectively pledge 5 billion dollars every year until 2030.

The event was organized by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Grow Africa, Grow Asia, the World Benchmarking Alliance, the World Food Programme, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), and Cornell University, and premised on Cere2030 research propositions on how to end hunger in the most sustainable way.

Cere2030 report proposes that countries will need to invest an additional 330 billion dollars in the period leading up to 2030, which translates to 30 billion dollars every year. Donors who already contribute toward hunger will have to donate an additional US 14 billion per year until 2030 and additional public spending of US19 billion dollars by low-and-middle-income countries through an increase in taxation.

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Other critical areas of the Nourish the Future Pledge include enabling participation in farmer organizations, investing in vocational programs for rural youth that offer integrated training in multiple skills, scaling up social protection programs, extension services especially for women, research and development spending, agricultural interventions to support sustainable practices that are economically viable for farmers, improving quality and quantity of livestock feed for small a medium-scale commercial farms and reducing post-harvest loss by focusing beyond cereals to fruits and vegetables and other parts of the value chain.

Companies present at the session included Ajinomoto, Keeling’s, and Unilever, and they all pledged to contribute to achieving zero hunger. The Zero Hunger Nourish the future Pledge will officially be signed and launched at the UN Food Systems summit in September and in October, a secretariat will be established, and the campaign for funds rolled out globally.

The 2020 Global Report on Food Crises identifies the causes of acute hunger to be man-made conflict, economic shocks, and climate change. These factors have contributed to impeding the achievement of zero hunger by 2030. Ceres2030 solutions and the adoption by the Nourish the Future Pledge will ensure that the steps being taken to combat hunger are not just band-aid solutions but solutions that are lasting and sustainable.

In countries like Madagascar where famine is acute, adaptation and mitigation are needed. For example, one of the areas that the Nourish the Future project will focus on is the adoption of climate-resilient crops and scaling up farm-level interventions in water-scarce regions. This form of adaptation is crucial in ensuring that droughts will no longer make it impossible for people to access agriculture and adequate nutrition.

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