The 2030 Agenda
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an action program for people, the Planet and prosperity, signed by the 193 countries of the United Nations in September 2015.
The commitments promoted by the Agenda are encapsulated by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, also known as Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, which include 169 targets, to define a sustainable world development path for the next decade.
The signatory countries are committed to achieving the shared targets for lasting, sustainable development in a common way, by 2030, including for example fighting poverty, eradicating hunger and combating climate change. It is important to notice how many of the challenges set by the International Community are tightly linked with our current food models, characterized by inadequate production, distribution and consumption systems. These are placing pressure on the natural limits of our Planet and do not allow for a fair division of resources across people, or their safeguarding for future generations.
Move the mouse over the objectives to find out their meaning
Thus a radical rethinking of these systems is needed, to develop answers that can achieve the Objectives of the 2030 Agenda.
Guaranteeing access to food for a growing population
According to the United Nations’ forecasts, the world population has reached 7.6 billion people1, with 1 out of 9 people suffering from hunger, while 4 out of 10 people are obese or overweight2. In absolute terms, 815 million3 people are malnourished, whereas 2.1 billion people eat beyond their real need.
The number of people in need of food is bound to grow in the coming years with the world population reaching 9.7 billion by 20503, and most demographic growth will take place in Africa, Asia, America and Oceania.
Drastically reduce the consumption of soil and natural resources
The UNEP –United Nations Environment Programme– calculates that we are currently consuming the natural resources of 1.6 planets to support our lifestyle and, if no radical change occurs, we will need 3 planets by 2050.
A recent update of the analysis of the Planet's ecological limits, carried out by scientists from the Stockholm Resilience Center, shows how the incessant increase in land use by agriculture is compromising biodiversity and water quality. Today, 38% of the earth surface is allocated to agriculture: forests, grasslands, marshes and other ecosystems have been converted into productive soil, to the detriment of the variety of life forms that used to characterize them. It is expected that at the current levels of erosion of the natural ecosystems, over a fourth of the species inhabiting the earth could be extinct by 2050.
Reducing global warming
Because of human beings and the emission into the atmosphere of excessive amounts of polluting gases, most of which generated by agriculture, the Earth’s temperature is rising: at this rate, by 2100, the International Panel on Climate Change expects temperatures to increase between 3.7 and 4.8 °C compared to pre-industrial levels.
This is causing concerning levels of desertification, which result in 12 million hectares of land being lost every year.
In this scenario during the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 °C compared to pre-industrial levels.
Reducing food waste along the supply chain
Today about 1.3 billion tonnes of edible food, accounting for 1/3 of global production, are wasted because of production, storage and distribution processes that are unsuitable or because of unsustainable consumption habits. This amount is 4 times bigger than the food required to feed people suffering from hunger4.
This is one of the reasons why Pope Francis, in his 2015 encyclical "Laudato Si", called for an urgent and radical change in our lifestyle, production and consumption models, which have developed with no regard for the consequences on the environment and the communities. His message addressed all the leading actors of the world food system, inviting to reflect on these issues and, especially, urging us to act together.