Nutrition and the SDGs

Improving nutrition sits at the core of global development and is central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

The sustainable development goals

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a set of 17 global goals with specific targets aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all by 2030.

SDG 2 – A global commitment to tackle undernutrition and hunger

The need for better nutrition was recognised in SDG 2, which aims to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

The goal acknowledges that efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition have advanced significantly since 2000. However, ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition for all will require continued and focused efforts, especially in Asia and Africa.

END HUNGER, ACHIEVE FOOD SECURITY AND IMPROVED NUTRITION AND PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

TO MAKE PROGRESS ACROSS THE SDGS IT IS ESSENTIAL TO MAKE PROGRESS ON NUTRITION

beyond sdg2

However, improving nutrition goes beyond SDG2 alone and is linked to each of the SDGs and can play a transformational role in driving sustainable development. Making headway against undernutrition will have wide-reaching consequences for improving health and working to end poverty. To make progress on sustainable development it is therefore essential to make progress on nutrition.

Similarly, achieving this goal will depend on progress across many of the other SDGs, including those aimed at clean water and sanitation, renewable energy, education and gender equality.

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  • 1

    No poverty

    Social protection can help reduce the risk of undernutrition, while investments in nutrition can complement investments aimed at achieving SDG 1 – “end poverty in all its form everywhere” – and especially the target on implementing appropriate social protection systems to benefit the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.

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  • 2

    Zero hunger

    Food security, nutrition and agriculture are part of the same global agenda. SDG 2 encourages the world to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.”

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  • 3

    Good health and well-being

    Investments in nutrition are critical to the achievement of SDG 3 – “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” – and especially the targets on reducing national rates of neonatal and child mortality and global maternal mortality.

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  • 4

    Quality education

    Improved nutrition can help to maximise investments aimed at the achievement of SDG 4 – “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Education platforms can also be nutrition-sensitive, to reach children with nutrition interventions and services as they grow.

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  • 5

    Gender equality

    The empowerment of women and girls is a key entry point to improving nutrition outcomes at household, community and national levels. Delivering on SDG 5 – “achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls” – will also support efforts to achieve the nutrition SDG targets.

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  • 6

    Clean water and sanitation

    WASH and nutrition go hand in hand – investments in improving water, sanitation and hygiene are critical to create an enabling environment for improvements in nutrition, and investments in nutrition will help to protect children against infectious disease, a key aim of investments in SDG 6 – “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”

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  • 7

    Affordable and clean energy

    “Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today.” Energy is essential for producing food and thus nutrition.

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  • 8

    Decent work and economic growth

    “A continued lack of decent work opportunities, insufficient investments and under-consumption lead to an erosion of the basic social contract underlying democratic societies: that all must share in progress”. Nutrition is a vital precondition for achieving this goal.

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  • 9

    Industry, innovation and infrastructure

    “Investments in infrastructure – transport, irrigation, energy and information and communication technology – are crucial to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities in many countries. It has long been recognised that growth in productivity and incomes, and improvements in health and education outcomes require investment in infrastructure.”

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  • 10

    Reduced inequalities

    Almost 50% of countries experience malnutrition. “The international community has made significant strides towards lifting people out of poverty. The most vulnerable nations – the least developed countries, the landlocked developing countries and the small island developing states – continue to make inroads into poverty reduction. However, inequality still persists and large disparities remain"

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  • 11

    Sustainable cities and communities

    “Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically. However, many challenges exist to maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity while not straining land and resources.

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  • 12

    Responsible consumption and production

    Reliable food supply helps stabilise food prices. “Sustainable consumption and production is about promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all.

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  • 13

    Climate action

    Investments in nutrition can reinforce those aimed at SDG 13 – “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts” – leading to stronger and healthier societies that will be more resilient to the effects of climate change.

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  • 14

    Life below water

    “The world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea.”

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  • 15

    Life on land

    “Forests cover 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface and in addition to providing food security and shelter, forests are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population.”

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  • 16

    Peace, justice and strong institutions

    Ending malnutrition supports peaceful and stable societies. “Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.”

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  • 17

    Partnerships for the goals

    Delivering on the SDGs will require collaborative partnerships – with the private sector playing an important role. Bringing new private sector partners into the fight against undernutrition will help the world to achieve SDG 17 – and especially the targets to mobilise new financing and promote a range of new public, public-private and civil society partnerships.

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