Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger


As of 2017, an estimated 821 million people are chronically undernourished due to environmental degradation, drought, and decreasing biodiversity, which is the variety of life on Earth. In the same year, 22% of children experienced stunted growth due to undernourishment. As of 2018, an estimated 16 million children are severely wasted, meaning that their muscle and fat tissue have wasted away as a result of insufficient nutrition. Malnutrition, or the lack of calories and proteins needed for growth and maintenance, is also the biggest global contributor to disease. These statistics reflect the severity of issues like undernourishment and food insecurity, which are growing problems in almost all of South Africa and South America. 

The Goal 

SDG 2 aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

Targets and Indicators 

SDG 2 has eight targets, or subgoals, which include meeting internationally agreed-upon targets for ending wasting and stunting in children under five by 2025. For instance, target two involves doubling productivity and the average income of small-scale food producers. This target is particularly focused on the growth of women and indigenous communities, who struggle the most with hunger because of a lack of resources. 

Other targets seek to ensure sustainable food production and end malnutrition by 2030. Relevant indicators that show progress toward these targets include the rate of undernourishment, malnutrition, food insecurity, and stunting. 

What’s Already Being Done

While global hunger has seen several years of steady decline, the number of people who suffer from hunger began to increase in 2015. In 2020, 60 million more people experienced hunger than in 2015. This fact is partly due to the worsening effects of climate change, which can damage agriculture, making it difficult for those who rely on money and produce from crops.

Many non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, are making progress towards this goal. One prominent NGO addressing this issue is Mercy Corps. The organization connects farmers to much-needed resources, helps communities create sustainable plans for food production, collaborates with local governments to ensure just policies, and works to help women become independent and feed their families. 

Applying It: How Everyone Can Help

We cannot end hunger if the planet is not healthy enough for our food to grow. So, practice a sustainable lifestyle: turn off lights, fully power down electronics, and try to reduce your carbon footprint. Hunger also affects impoverished communities the most, so use your voice to advocate for policies that help low-income families and individuals. 

Additionally, you can stay informed about world hunger and related issues through the internet. You can also share information about the Zero Hunger goal through social media,  donate to NGOs and food banks, and organize a meal packing event. Lastly, you can contact local representatives and urge them to take action against food insecurity in your community. Though small, these steps can help the world meet SDG 2!

Think Further

  1. Can you think of other issues that are related to hunger beyond poverty, climate change, and women’s equality? How might they be interconnected?
  2. Hunger is not always easy to spot. What do you know about hunger in your town, county, and state? What is being done to combat it?
  3. What is something you can do to take action against hunger in your community?


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Learn More

  1. “Goal 2 .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.” United Nations. United Nations. Accessed May 12, 2020.
  2. Grebmer, Klaus von, Jill Bernstein, Nilam Prasai, Shazia Amin, Yisehac Yohannes, Olive Towey, Jennifer Thompson, Andrea Sonntag, Fraser Patterson, and David Nabarro. 2016 Global Hunger Index: Getting To Zero Hunger. Bonn: Welthungerhilfe, 2016.
  3. Singh, Ajeet, Pradeep Kumar Dubey, and P. C. Abhilash. “Food for Thought: Putting Wild Edibles Back on The Table for Combating Hidden Hunger in Developing Countries.” Current Science 115, no. 4 (January 2018): 611.
  4. “The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World – United Nations Sustainable Development.” United Nations. United Nations. Accessed May 12, 2020.