SDG 2 Event Highlights Need for Deep Transformation
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A discussion hosted by Biovision, the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and the Permanent Mission of Senegal highlighted two initiatives to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture).

sdg212 July 2016: A discussion hosted by Biovision, the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and the Permanent Mission of Senegal highlighted two initiatives to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture).

The event took place on 12 July 2016, in New York, US, on the sidelines of the 2016 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

David Nabarro, UN Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, speaking via video, said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change call for a “deep transformation” of agriculture and food systems to make them inclusive, sustainable and climate-compatible. He said SDG 2 can serve as an entry point to achieving all 17 Goals, including by ending hunger and malnutrition and contributing to ending rural poverty, tackling climate change, and sustainable management of natural resources. He added that to leave no one behind, it is necessary to raise the incomes and productivity of small and family farmers and create in-farm and off-farm decent jobs. He added that success requires participatory, inclusive governance, including at the local level, and breaking down sectoral silos.

Mayacine Camara, Ministry of Economy, Finance and Planning of Senegal, explained the challenges facing Senegal in achieving SDG 2, and its approaches so far to addressing them. Deborah Fulton, Committee on World Food Security (CFS), said that when the CFS was created in 2009, it was “revolutionary” to bring in all stakeholders. She said it is worth the extra time and effort to build multistakeholder policy convergence around areas needing a policy shift.

Moderator Zachary Bleicher, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), introducing presentations on the two initiatives, said they can help understand “what it means to implement SDG 2.” Marie-Hélène Schwoob, IDDRI, described the Agricultural Transformation Pathways Initiative launched in 2014, saying that if agricultural and food systems are improved, it will lead to progress on many or all of the other SDGs. She outlined the use of participatory backcasting in three pilot countries, China, UK, and Uruguay, to collectively set a future vision and decide on a course of action to achieve it. In addition to these steps, she said, the process must identify levers and roadblocks in each country.

Hans Herren, President of the Millennium Institute and co-founder of Biovision, presented the Changing Course in Global Agriculture (CCGA) project. He said it aims to improve food security, increase rural welfare, and protect natural resources through sustainable agriculture policies. Herren identified three ways to reach these goals: inclusive policy dialogue at global, national and local levels; partnerships with governments; and evidence-based approaches to decision making. He stressed that at the national level, multistakeholder processes can help to set a baseline, against which policies can be developed. He noted that SDG 2 requires a transformation of agriculture, including greater investment in smallholders.

In an interactive discussion, participants drew attention to: the Sustainable Food Systems programme of the Ten-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) on sustainable consumption and production (SCP); linkages between the agricultural initiatives, decarbonization strategies, and the Paris Agreement; the need to recover rural areas as “vibrant, dynamic spaces that have a place in the 21st century;” and the importance of fisheries in agriculture. Herren echoed the need to upgrade rural areas, “so people stay there,” instead of continuing to attract people to cities and leaving the countryside for big machinery. He called for a “total shift in investments” to prevent this scenario.

Lauren Barredo, SDSN, summarizing the discussion, said SDG 2 calls for a “deep, fundamental transformation of the way we grow and eat food,” but tradeoffs must be considered and balanced. She noted the unanimous support for a multi-stakeholder approach and for giving government, farmers, academia, the UN system, and civil society “a seat at the table.” [SDSN Event Summary and Concept Note] [IISD RS Sources]


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