“Ending hunger possible in our lifetime”, UN Official

Harare, 19 May 2016 - “The drive to end hunger has been part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but had now become a stand-alone goal under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs”, World Food Programme (WFP) Representative and Country Director for Zimbabwe, Eddie Rowe has said.

“In the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs: 2016-2030), ending hunger by 2030 is now a stand-alone goal with a more comprehensive program to improve: nutrition, agricultural production, food production systems, genetic diversity, investments, trade regimes, and food commodity markets,” Rowe said while addressing participants at the Wednesday@UNIC on 18 May 2016 on the ongoing work and accelerated action plans in place for ending hunger and malnutrition in Zimbabwe.

The WFP Country Director added that inspired by the success of countries like Brazil in reducing hunger, and recognizing the need to address the “daily emergency,” the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon launched his Zero Hunger Challenge in 2012. The Zero Hunger Challenge promotes collective action by stakeholders supporting governments to create sustainable, inclusive and resilient food and nutrition systems that deliver for all people.

The Zero Hunger Challenge is based on five elements which, taken together, will end hunger, eliminate the worst forms of malnutrition, and build inclusive and sustainable food systems in our lifetime. It brings together the different stakeholders to deliver on this common vision. Four of the five targets under SDG2 are derived from the pillars of the Secretary General’s Zero Hunger Challenge

“While the elements of the Zero Hunger Challenge are included in the SDG2, what is more explicit is the target 5 on genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species.”

In Zimbabwe, 2.8 million people were affected by the El-Nino induced drought. According to the latest WFP Zimbabwe Situation Report, increased rains in March-April have marginally improved harvests in some districts, but overall crop situation remains bleak, and food insecurity is anticipated to spike as from July in all districts, as available stocks deplete.

It also emerged that WFP Zimbabwe’s 2016 /17 El Nino Response Plan faces a US$43.5 million funding gap up to October 2016 while a gap of US$199 million remains for the total response through March 2017. In addition, seven of the 13 districts planned to start Productive Asset Creation activities in May face a US$7.7 million funding gap.

Rowe, in his brief, said that eliminating hunger involves investments in agriculture, rural development, decent work, social protection and equality of opportunity.

He added that ending hunger involves ensuring access to nutritious food for the most vulnerable, tackling the multi-dimensional causes of malnutrition, including health and sanitation, and increasing agricultural production through sustainable and resilient food systems.

Thus, it is apparent that the ending of hunger is a pre-requisite to ending poverty, and the attainment of national food security is a necessary precondition for the attainment of household food security.