Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Part 2: Goal 2

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) addressed poverty and hunger in Goal 1: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. However, these have been separated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Food Security

It  is said to exist  “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”.

Food security is built on three pillars:

  • Food availability: sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis.
  • Food access: having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet.
  • Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.

Targets under Goal 2:

Target 2.1: 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

Comment: The inclusion of infants is crucial as the initial 1000 days are critical to laying down the foundations for future growth- any growth restriction in this life stage is likely to have (irreversible) long-term consequences.

Target 2.2: By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons

Comment: The time-frames seem inconsistent, as 2025 and 2030 are both mentioned in the same target.

Target 2.3: 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

Comment: The mention of specific groups seems unnecessary- maintaining a more general tone might have helped retain a consistent feel to the targets. Monitoring progress/ achievement in this target will be difficult.

Target 2.4: 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

Comment: Experts suggest merging targets 2.3 and 2.4, with the combined target reworded to read “by 2030 increase agricultural productivity sustainably, that is, without adverse impacts on the natural resource base and the environment, with a focus on small-scale producers”

Target 2.5: 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 utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed

Comment: It is unclear why the time-frame is 2020, instead of 2030 (as for other targets). The loss of biodiversity that has already occurred as a result of large scale promotion and cultivation of select crop varieties may not be repaired/ undone through these measures.

Means of Implementation

2a: 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

Comment: This will be difficult to monitor. Further, it will be difficult to safeguard the interests of farmers in developing countries when large corporations begin operations under the guise of ‘enhancing productive capacity’ in such areas.

2b: 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

Comment: Experts suggest merging this with 2c

2c: 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

Comment: Experts suggest merging 2b and 2c

Useful Links:

Link to the United Nations SDG page:

Link to the UNDP page on Goal 2:

Link to the Millennium Development Goals page of the United Nations:

Link to WHO page on Food Security:


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