There are more than 870 million people who are hungry and malnourished around the world. As we look toward 2050, we will have a third more mouths to feed, which will further strain systems, the environment and communities. Building sustainable, specific and multi-sectoral responses to ending hunger, and creating a food- and nutrition-secure world are urgent.
In 2012, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon unveiled the UN Zero Hunger Challenge and called upon all sectors to step up the fight against hunger and malnutrition. As an independent community response to that call to action, the Community for Zero Hunger was launched today.
"The Community for Zero Hunger is an independent, community-driven initiative to identify the greatest gaps in successfully tackling hunger and malnutrition, and leverage private-sector experience to help fill those gaps at scale,” said Nabeeha M. Kazi, Chair of the Community for Zero Hunger and Managing Director of Humanitas Global. “There is widespread recognition that deeper, strategic, and more specific collaboration among civil society and public and private sectors is needed if we are to build sustainable hunger-alleviation pathways.”
Working with a diverse group of experts, the Community for Zero Hunger team will conduct a comprehensive assessment to identify context-specific needs and gaps in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. Then, working with 50 companies from around the world, the Community for Zero Hunger will identify private-sector knowledge, capabilities, experiences, and other offerings that could help fill those gaps in a context-appropriate manner.
The world’s leading food, agriculture and nutrition experts recognize the value of tapping into insights and experiences that have traditionally been overlooked in the global response to hunger and malnutrition.
"The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recognizes the power of collective expertise and capabilities from all sectors, including the private sector, for building a hunger and malnutrition-free world,” said Dr. Marcela Villareal, Director of the FAO Office of Communications, Partnerships and Advocacy. “We are proud to formally collaborate with the Community for Zero Hunger, because its work aligns with FAO's commitment to constructively engage with the private sector, and leverage knowledge and resources to end hunger in our lifetimes.”
The Community for Zero Hunger brings together diverse leaders, collaborates with UN agencies, and engages governments to advise and inform its work. These leaders have shaped policy, created innovations, designed and implemented in-field hunger and nutrition alleviation programs, and worked across sectors to make a difference. They also recognize that having a credible base of evidence and the right tools are critical, but making the evidence base known and tools accessible are our next steps.
“I have been exposed to the stagnation in addressing the effects of hunger and malnutrition in communities for decades, and it gives me hope to finally see momentum building up to put these burdens behind us,” said Dr. Namukolo Covic, Programme Leader - Food and Nutrition Security Research Programme, CEN, North-West University in South Africa.
“As a fellow Community for Zero Hunger Advisor, I look forward to addressing context-specific issues that are significant barriers to scaling up food and nutrition security responses. The success of any intervention will be influenced by contextual factors, which must be adequately addressed to make a meaningful difference.”
The Community for Zero Hunger is a 24-month initiative that is open for all to inform. Its outputs and insights will be shared via an open-access, Web-based platform. Significant outreach also will be conducted to connect practitioners, policy makers, advocates, and researchers from across sectors as they work toward filling key gaps.
The Community for Zero Hunger believes the fight against hunger and malnutrition is a critical priority, because those who lack access to food and nutrition also lack opportunities to grow, thrive, and succeed in life. Ensuring a food- and nutrition-secure future for all must be at the center of the global development agenda, but the development and implementation of that agenda must be as participatory as possible.
"There is unprecedented attention and momentum in building stronger and more sustainable responses to fighting global hunger and malnutrition," said Dr. Lawrence Haddad, Director of the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. "We know that the collective strengths of all sectors must be part of better informed policies, research and program design. The Community for Zero Hunger is meant to link knowledge-based assets from the private sector driven by public-sector needs and priorities as we look to overcome the bottlenecks that stand in the way of achieving the global UN mandate of a Zero Hunger world."