By Volunteer Uppasana Baruah, FHI Guwahati
The United Nations member states in 2015 adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals, also known as SDGs, with the aim to end poverty, protect the planet and to ensure that all people live in peace and prosperity by 2030. Goal 2 of the 17 goals is Zero Hunger. The Zero Hunger goal lays out steps to address food insecurity, end hunger and improve nutrition intake. Despite such targets, the world is not on track to achieve the goal, according to the United Nations report.
Speaking of hunger, the Global Hunger Index 2020 made headlines a few days back when it declared India’s rank as 94 out of 107 countries in the index, lower than neighbours such as Bangladesh (75) and Pakistan (88). India has been accounted for with the highest prevalence of wasted (causing a person or a part of the body to become progressively weaker and more emaciated) children under five years in the world, which reflects acute undernutrition, according to the Global Hunger Index 2020. During 2015-19, the prevalence of child wastage was 17.3%. Child stunting has improved from 54% in 2000 to less than 35% now ( statistics source: The Hindu). Child mortality rates and undernourishment have also improved. However, child wasting continues to remain pathetic and hasn’t improved.
This sheds light on the poorly functioning public distribution system which is inadequate and ineffective in improving undernourishment and hunger crises of the poor and underprivileged. This also exemplifies how in the time of this pandemic, the inefficiencies in food distribution have heightened, which might further affect the country’s trajectories into the future.
A lot of measures have been already listed for improving the Hunger crisis by the United Nations as well as individual countries. Reducing food wastage should be encouraged to ensure there is no shortage of food. Along with sustainable agriculture, improvements in agricultural markets through liberalization of trade and modernization of agriculture should be followed. Fostering gender equality and removing poverty is important to check that no one is devoid of nourishment. The food distributing systems should be made efficient and adequate in providing food for all. Unless, social responsibilities aren’t taken seriously, the world will stoop further in achieving something as basic as providing food.