Global Goals | Action Against Hunger

An end to child hunger within 15 years?

The post-2015 development agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals offer a historic opportunity for the world to finally end child hunger and malnutrition by a specific date.  

By Glen Tarman

Sep 24 2015

As world leaders gather in New York for the post-2015 sustainable development summit the fight to end child hunger feels on the cusp of a major breakthrough.

At today’s high-profile summit, which sets out the world’s to-do list for the next 15 years, these leaders will adopt ambitious and transformational new global goals, which  - for the first time - include concrete targets to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030.

This is the first time there has ever been an international agreement by all nations to end hunger and malnutrition by a certain date. 

And as it’s something we have long campaigned for, we are understandably excited by the potential this new level of ambition brings.

We know only too well how life-limiting malnutrition can be. The disease claims around one million young lives every year. Malnourished children are more likely to be stunted, wasted or overweight and are less likely to escape poverty and chronic disease later in life.

So it makes absolute sense that ending hunger and malnutrition is a major goal of any long-term world development plan. Good nutrition is a driver of development and of economic growth. Addressing malnutrition will save lives, reduce inequalities, and build strong and resilient individuals, families, communities, and populations. It is vital to ensuring the other 16 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are met.

Long road ahead

We must remember that September is just the beginning of what will be a long and extremely challenging 15-year journey.

To produce the life-saving results we all crave, immediate, and in many cases a dramatic upscale of, action is needed from all nations.

Meeting the SDGs’ hunger and malnutrition targets will mean countries need to dramatically accelerate their action across multiple sectors, including: health, water, sanitation and hygiene, agriculture, education and women’s empowerment.

Global targets need to be followed by national ones that balance achievability with the ambition required to create lasting change.

And decisions regarding how the goals and targets will be measured have to be finalised. The measurement framework, vital to ensure we can hold states accountable for promises made, must include an indicator on both stunting and wasting – the two forms of child malnutrition included in the SDGs on hunger and nutrition. Children with wasting - the most extreme form of malnutrition - must be counted.

Will it work?

Ultimately, the success of the post-2015 development agenda will be judged far from the spectacle of this weekend’s summit.

It will become evident in our stabilisation units in the Sahel or when community volunteers arrive at villages in South Sudan to measure and weigh the children of some of the most vulnerable families on earth. Let’s be clear, steady progress year by year for the next 15 years is what will be needed if we collectively want to save lives and shape futures.

But if the action, political commitment and resources necessary to achieve this agreement are forthcoming, child malnutrition could finally be set on a path to eradication in the not-so-distant future. And that’s definitely something we feel is worth celebrating.

Thank you for your continued support. Together, we have helped make history today.

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