GOAL 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

  • 2.1: By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round
  • 2.2: By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons
  • 2.3: By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment
  • 2.4: By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality
  • 2.5: By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed
  • 2.a: Increase investment, including through enhanced international cooperation, in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks in order to enhance agricultural productive capacity in developing countries, in particular least developed countries
  • 2.b: Correct and prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world agricultural markets, including through the parallel elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and all export measures with equivalent effect, in accordance with the mandate of the Doha Development Round
  • 2.c: Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility

SDG Progress and Industry Notes


The 2018 Report of the Secretary-General on Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, notes a rise in hunger: “After a prolonged decline, world hunger appears to be on the rise again. Conflict, drought and disasters linked to climate change are among the key factors causing the reversal in the long-term progress in fighting global hunger, making the prospect of ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030 more difficult.”  The report estimated “an increase to 815 million of undernourished people worldwide in 2016, up from 777 million in 2015.”

“Based on FAO’s Food Insecurity Experience Scale, which directly measure the difficulties faced by people in accessing food, in 2016, 689 million people in the world (9.3 per cent of the world population) reported experiencing severe food insecurity.” 

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In 2017, the HLPF Thematic Review noted “SDG 2 highlights the complex inter-linkages between food security, nutrition, rural transformation and sustainable agriculture. SDG 2 links the eradication of hunger and of malnutrition to a transformation in agriculture and food systems, and to the empowerment of rural people, women and men alike, as critical agents of change. Agriculture plays a key and direct role in achieving SDG 2, but it is also central to achieving SDG 1 on eradicating extreme poverty, and several other targets, especially those related to health, water, biodiversity, sustainable cities, sustainable energy, and climate change.”

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A recent analysis by the International Council for Science (ICSU) explores how SDG 2 links to all 16 other Goals with 75 target-level interactions, of which 50 were positive, 1 was neutral and 24 were negative. Among the key findings of the report, was the recognition that agricultural productivity must be achieved in tandem with more sustainable agricultural practices. The report acknowledged that “[u]nsustainable agricultural practices, deforestation and other land use changes, currently responsible for 24% of GHG emissions (IPCC, 2014), can…increase[e] the exposure of vulnerable populations to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters….”

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Based on the number of linkages to other Goals and Targets, investments in sustainable agriculture therefore contribute to progress on all three dimensions of sustainable development. Despite the importance of agricultural investments, however, “both foreign and domestic official investment in agriculture has been declining.” Consequently, a recent Ministerial Declaration of the 2017 HLPF called for “increased responsible investments…to enhance capacity for sustainable agricultural productivity” including those aimed at “climate adaptation and mitigation measures.”

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Industry Notes

Agriculture plays an important part for the Apparel and Textile industry.  According to the 2018 Fiber Year Report, “The world fiber market has arrived at 103 million tonnes, equal to an expansion of almost 4%. The new all-time high was result of acceleration in demand after slowing growth rates in four consecutive years. Natural fibers grew almost 3% which was the fastest pace in eight years. The cellulosic business gained 3% in volume despite acetate tow suffering from its fourth annual drop in a row due to sustained decline of cigarette production and synthetic fibers rebounded more than 4%.

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The promotion of sustainable agriculture under SDG 2 – and specifically Target 2.4.1 which relates to the proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture – will be an important SDG indicator for the apparel and textile industry. Promotion of more sustainable cultivation practices and documented continuous improvement along with conversion to more sustainable fibers (referred to as ‘preferred fibers’ by Textile Exchange) is a barometer of transformative change for apparel and textiles to lower industry impacts. Textile Exchange’s benchmarking work reveals continued growth in preferred cotton production systems as well as other preferred fibers. Textile Exchange has committed to reporting the links between these preferred fibers and the SDGs. 

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