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Report: Insufficient Progress on Reaching Food-Related Goals

Progress is insufficient to reach many food-related sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030, according to a report published July 18 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

“The most recent evidence available for such targets … paints a grim picture,” the report stated. “The world is not on track to meeting the overwhelming majority of SDG targets related to sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition. Four years into the 2030 Agenda, regression is the norm for almost all related indicators, with only a few areas reflecting some progress.”

The report assesses progress for 19 of the 21 SDG indicators that fall under FAO’s purview, finding that nine are off track and, if trends continue, will not be met by 2030.

By comparison, three are on track, while it was too soon to make a determination for the remaining seven indicators.

Of the nine indicators assessed for SDG 2 (which focuses on ending global hunger), seven of the nine are off track.

Hunger and malnourishment have increased in recent years after a decade of decline, with around 820 million people and 11 percent of the world’s population not having sufficient food.

The report found that both of the assessed indicators within SDG 6 (focused on clean, sustainable water and sanitation) were too early to make a determination.

More longitudinal data is needed to assess changes in water efficiency and the stress being placed on fresh water systems.

Of the four indicators for SDG 14 (which focuses on conservation of oceans, seas and marine resources) one was off track, one was on track and two were said to be “too early to call.”

Overfishing of the world’s fish stocks is creating significant strain (off track) even as sustainable fisheries are increasing at healthy levels in less-developed portions of the world (on track).

SDG 15 (focused on maintaining and preserving terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity) was the only goal with more on-track than off-track indicators – two on track, one off track and one undetermined.

While the loss of forests continues at “an alarming rate in some regions” (off track), a focus on sustainable forest management has slowed the pace of deforestation worldwide (on track).

“The report paints a grim picture,” Pietro Gennari, FAO’s chief statistician, said in a press release announcing the report’s findings. “Four years into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, regression is the norm when it comes to ending hunger and rendering agriculture and the management of natural resources – be that on land or in our oceans – sustainable.”

The full report is available here.