According to the UN Development Programme: ‘795 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished as of 2014, often as a direct consequence of environmental degradation, drought and loss of biodiversity.’
Therefore SDG 2 is critically important. Zero Hunger aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture in all countries by the year 2030.
The following facts and figures paint a bleak picture:
• The vast majority of the world’s hungry people live in developing countries, where 12.9 per cent of the population is undernourished.
• Southern Asia faces the greatest hunger burden, with about 281 million undernourished people. In sub-Saharan Africa, projections for the 2014-2016 period indicate a rate of undernourishment of almost 23 per cent.
• Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45 per cent) of deaths in children under the age of five – 3.1 million children each year.
• One in four of the world’s children suffer stunted growth. In developing countries the proportion can rise to one in three.
• Agriculture is the single largest employer in the world, providing livelihoods for 40 per cent of today’s global population. It is the largest source of income and jobs for poor rural households.
• Investing in smallholder women and men is an important way to increase food security and nutrition for the poorest, as well as food production for local and global markets.
Reflecting on injustice through prayer
Prayer is crucial to ending hunger and achieving food security by 2030, as it is through prayer that the Holy Spirit equips us to address issues of social injustice. There are many examples of men and women in the Bible who engaged in acts of justice or advocacy following a period of time in prayer and petition to God.
Through prayer we are able to acknowledge our weaknesses and dependence on the Holy Spirit to empower us to be holy, live out social justice and love our neighbours as we love ourselves. It is through the power of prayer that God is able to transform lives and the world.
In Luke chapter 18, Jesus uses the parable of the widow to demonstrate what it means to be dependent on the Holy Spirit and to pray and never give up. He shares about a widow seeking fair judgement from an unjust judge and how through her persistence she receives what she has asked for. Jesus says in Luke 18:7-8: ‘And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.’ We too must cry out to God persistently in prayer and take heart that nothing is impossible for God, including providing for the hungry and breaking down unfair systems.
O God, you entrusted to us the fruits of all creation so that we might care for the earth and be nourished with its bounty. You sent us your Son to share our very flesh and blood and to teach us about your love. Through His death and resurrection, we have been formed into one human family. Jesus showed great concern for those who had no food – even transforming five loaves and two fish into a banquet that served five thousand and many more. We come before you, O God, conscious of our faults and failures, but full of hope, to share food with all members in this global family. Through your wisdom, inspire leaders of government and of business, as well as all the world’s citizens, to find just, and charitable solutions to end hunger by assuring that all people enjoy the right to food. God, may we strive to see your Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven in our lives, families, communities, church and around the world so that there may be no more hunger. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Reflecting for action
Please take time to read the targets associated with this goal and pray that God will equip and empower people, corps (churches) and the international Church to take action as they aim to address hunger and achieve food security. Pray for those people who are suffering from hunger and that hearts may be softened so that solutions can be generated and food and resources can be shared.
Sustainable Development Goal 2 Targets
• 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.
• By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under five years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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 utilisation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.