Achieving Zero Hunger and Ending Poverty by 2030

  • Htun Tin Htun
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Agricultural experts monitor corn plantation which is threatened by pests in Dimawso. photo: Yi Ral

All over the world countries are implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Myanmar has approved the balanced Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) a few months ago. MSDP has three main pillars, five goals, and 28 strategies with designated project implementation programs under each strategy. There are a total of 251 work processes. MSDP processes will be implemented as a living document.
MSDP was drawn up in coordination with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, Myanmar’s 12-point economic policy, ASEAN economic community, Greater Mekong Sub-region strategy framework, as well as implementation of various international and regional pledges made by the Union Government. In other words, these sustainable development goals are based on our requirements and will be implemented as prioritized proceeses in accord with the country’s situation.
Almost 80 per cent of the world’s extreme poor live in rural areas where most are dependent on agriculture. Agriculture is the single largest employer in the world, with agricultural growth in low-income and agrarian economies being at least twice as effective as growth in other sectors in reducing hunger and poverty.
Climate change, loss of biodiversity and other pressures have already reached rates of change that threaten the capacity of the Earth’s ecosystems. Hundreds of millions of people who manage agricultural and food systems constitute the largest group of natural resource managers on earth. Investing in small producers, family farmers, fisher folk, livestock breeders, forest users, rural workers and indigenous peoples can promote growth and development of agriculture in rural areas. Ending poverty and zeroing hunger is viable and affordable and this task is of paramount importance for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Vulnerable people who mostly live in areas prone to natural disasters or protracted conflict are directly affected by limited food access and production, undermining efforts to eradicate hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Achieving sustainable development would need resilient policies, which range from rehabilitating flood-damaged waterways to planting climate resilient crops and developing capacities, can sustain the livelihoods of the most vulnerable. Investing in rural development, establishing social protection systems, building rural-urban linkages and focusing on boosting the incomes of the critical agents of change – smallholder family farmers, foresters, fisher folk, rural youth and women – is key to achieving inclusive and equitable growth while tackling the root causes of hunger and poverty. Nothing is impossible to the people of this world with eagerness and strong mindset, coupled with work hard (effort), will (mind) and wisdom (predominant factors). Given the mounting pressure on global ecosystems, the food production increase must be achieved in a sustainable and environmentally sound way.
Zealous and concerted efforts of the people of this planet will make them reach the zenith and efforts making the impossible possible. Everyone in this planet needs nutrients and food provides such nutrients for their survival and longevity. Rural women make up almost half of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, but they own less land and lack access to resources. Observation shows that if women are more involved in decision-making, and if they had the required and needed access as men to productive and financial resources, income, education and services, agricultural yields would increase and the number of poor and hungry people would fall.
How to increase food production using less water is one of the great challenges of the future; crops and livestock use 70 per cent of all water withdrawals and up to 95 per cent is in some developing countries; it is estimated that 1.8 billion people are projected to be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025. Up to now, there has been insufficient investment specifically targeting the food security and nutrition of the extreme poor, who are largely rural people. New recent study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) – the UN Rome-based agencies, estimates the cost of additional investments needed to eliminate extreme hunger and poverty to be US$265 Billion per year between 2016 and 2030, which is equivalent to 0.31% of global GDP. Governments therefore are responsible and need to fulfill this requirement with their political will in order to achieve this important SDGs. Earnest and concerted efforts are needed to achieve SDG 1 and SDG 2 ending poverty and zeroing hunger which can be attainable and affordable. Rural livelihood needs to be improved and improving rural livelihoods will also curb rural-urban migration and increased urban poverty.
A dedicated global goal, SDG2, based on a comprehensive approach to tackling food insecurity and malnutrition while promoting sustainable agriculture is an important step to achieving zero hunger and ushering in a new era of sustainable development. Noteworthy of the fact that feeding a growing global population while nurturing the planet will be a monumental challenge, but it can be achieved by transforming food systems and agriculture, embracing sustainable living and working practices, improving governance and securing the political will to act. Daily management decisions of those who farm, keep livestock, fish, manage forests, and run agribusinesses are important key to global food security and the health of the world’s ecosystems.
It is nice to read a quote of José Graziano da Silva – FAO Director-General – that reads “The achievement of the Millennium Development Goals hunger targets by many countries shows that we can indeed eliminate the scourge of hunger in our lifetime. This is at the very heart of the new sustainable development agenda: freeing the world of poverty and hunger, and leaving no one behind. We can do it. We can be the Zero Hunger generation.” Development of agriculture and productivity enhancement with environmentally sound and good agricultural practice is of great importance to feed everyone in this planet.
If the aquaculture, the fastest growing food sector is developed in a regulated and environmentally and socially responsible way, aquaculture intensification has the potential to produce the fish needed to meet the demand for safe and highly nutritious food by a growing population. Noteworthy of the fact that the battle to end poverty must be fought also in rural areas, where people depend directly or indirectly on farming, fisheries or forestry for incomes as well as food and hunger is no longer an issue of insufficient global supplies, but mainly of lack of access to the means to produce or purchase food. Growing global population with accelerating urbanization and a deteriorating natural resource base means more people to feed with less water, farmland and rural labour.
People, Planet, Peace, Prosperity and Partnership are five important elements to be considered in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, Agenda 2030. Our people of this planet need partnership for development, peace, stability, security and prosperity in various ways and means.
A very important thing is to feed the world sustainably, producers need to grow more food while reducing negative environmental impacts such as soil, water and nutrient loss, greenhouse gas emissions, and degradation of ecosystems. Every year, the world loses or wastes about a third of the food it produces, it is learnt and practices of the reduction of such losses or wastes using modern technologies and facilities are our great concern. Recent evidence suggests that climate change, biodiversity loss and other pressures have already reached rates of change that threaten the capacity of the Earth’s ecosystems.
The hundreds of millions of people who manage agricultural and food systems constitute the largest group of natural resource managers on earth. Youth and women play crucial role in the achievement of zeroing hunger and ending poverty which are the two important Sustainable Development Goals in their respective area in this world by 2030.

Myanmar and SDG Goals
Myanmar is facing challenges to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and equitable development among the nations.
We are making endeavours to achieve equitable and inclusive economic and financial growth for the benefit of the people of Myanmar. We firmly believe that it is as important to share prosperity and equitable distribution of benefits among the citizens of a particular country as it is important among the nations in the global community.
As the SDGs’ Goal Number 10 reflects the need to “Reduce inequality within and among countries” the concept of growth with equity, equitable development and sustainable development has become a crucial challenge for all of us.
We need to create ‘win-win’ strategies from the prevailing world economic system through our regional economic integration endeavor so that the benefits of international economic integration can be widely shared among us.
We must also adopt different strategies to improve our cooperation to create a sense of ASEAN Community among the nations of the world. We also see the importance of a more comprehensive and effective collaboration with international organisations, including the United Nations, the World Bank and the IMF.
We must strengthen our cooperation to face global challenges, including climate change, energy sufficiency, food security, infrastructure development and enhanced regional connectivity.
We recognize the need to ensure that the benefits of growth are shared equitably among our peoples. We also believe that better regional cooperation and integration will support greater market access and transfer of advanced technologies. Let’s address common challenges in order to produce good results and positive achievements.
(GNLM also contributes to this article)
Reference: FAO Website and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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