In September 2015, the 193 member states of the United Nations signed the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development: an action plan including 17 macro-goals, known as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and 169 targets to be reached within the next fifteen years. This has the purpose of eradicating poverty in all its forms and combating inequality at a global level, as well as providing a global response to climate change.
Mouse over the SDGs to find out the meaning
End poverty in all its forms everywhere
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
Many of the challenges set by the International Community are closely linked to the current food models, characterised by production, distribution and consumption systems that are putting to the test the limits of the Planet and the fair distribution of resources among people, and their availability for future generations.
For this reason, a radical redefinition of these systems is necessary to develop strategies that lead to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda Goals.
- Ensuring food security to a growing population
According to the United Nations’ forecasts, the world population has reached 7.3 billion people, of whom 1 person out of 10 suffers from hunger, whereas 3 people out of 10 are obese or overweight. In absolute terms, malnourished people are 795 million, whereas 2.1 billion people are overeating.
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 2050, with most demographic growth taking place in Africa, Asia, America and Oceania.
- Drastically reducing the use of land and natural resources
The UNEP – the United Nations Environment Programme – calculates that we are currently consuming the natural resources of 1.6 planets to support our society and, if no radical change occurs, we will need 3 Planets by 2050.
The recent update on the analysis of the ecological limits of the Planet, carried out by the scientists of the Stockholm Resilience Center, also shows how the constant increase of soil consumption for agricultural purposes is jeopardising biodiversity and water quality. Today 38% of the Earth surface is used for agriculture: forests, prairies, swamps and other types of ecosystems have been turned into productive land to the detriment of the variety of forms of life that characterised them.
At the current rates of erosion of natural ecosystems, more than one fourth the species living on Earth are expected to become extinct by 2050.
- Reducing global warming
Because of large amount of polluting gases emitted in the atmosphere, 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 serious desertification phenomena with the resulting loss of 12 million hectares of land every year.
In this scenario during the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal agreement on global warming to limit global warming to well below 2ºC compared to pre-industrial levels.
- Reducing waste along Supply Chains
Today about 1.3 billion tons 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 malnutrition (Source: Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition).
Also for this reason in the Encyclical Letter “Laudato Sì” of 2015, Pope Francis urges all to make a radical change in lifestyles, production and consumption models, which have developed without thinking of their consequences on the environment and the communities. This message applies to all the players of the world food system and calls for a common reflection, but even more for an urgent joint action.