As the finish line for the Millennium Development Goals quickly approaches, talks are already under way to establish the goals for the next 15 years. The new plan, called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), is all about renewing the world’s commitment to helping the world’s poor.
As world leaders begin to establish these new goals, food security and nutrition remain crucial elements. David Taylor, Economic Justice Policy Advisor for Oxfam, tells the Inter Press News Agency, “In a world that produces enough food to feed everyone, there is no excuse for anyone to go hungry.”
Yet, as of today, one in eight people still go hungry or is ailed by some type of malnutrition. This is approximately 842 million people who are under-nourished. Poor nutrition causes 45 percent of deaths in children under five—this is 3.1 million children every year.
While, according to Taylor, ending world hunger is not an unrealistic endeavor, we still face enormous challenges in food security and agriculture. It is imperative to formulate new pathways to overcome inefficiency, corruption and wastefulness.
On June 2, the Open Working Group (OWG) in collaboration with the UN, released Draft Zero on SDG with 17 goals to be accomplished in the next 15 years. In terms of food, one of the main emphases of the program is to boost production by locals, women and marginal groups.
Despite the optimism of those proposing SDG, it is not without critics. In recent months, SDG and its proponents are being accused of bypassing water supply and sanitation as basic human rights. According to a letter of protest signed by 77 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including Biofuel Watch, Blue Planet Project, Corporate Accountability International and End Water Poverty Coalition, their protest arises from the fact that references to water and sanitation as human rights has been removed from SDG.
While the road ahead of a final SDG is still long and complex, the UN Secratary General is expected to provide an update on the final version of SDG by the end of this year. Proponents and critics are expected to work together, and the UN would be taking into account various contributions in order to achieve a plan that best suits the needs of the most disadvantaged sectors of the global population. The final disclosure of the post-2015 development agenda is expected to coincide with a high-level Summit in September of 2015.
– Sahar Abi Hassan