A three-day gathering of civil society representatives from 19 different countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and South America held in Kathmandu to discuss the role of civil society in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2 concluded on Friday.
The Sustainable Development Goal 2 is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
According to organisers, about 795 million people in the world remain undernourished. One in nine people do not get enough food to lead a healthy and active life. Most of these (two thirds of the total) live in Asia.
Malnutrition is the biggest contributor to child mortality. Worldwide, 3.1 million children die of malnutrition every year.
On January 1, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development officially came into force with the United Nations making a commitment to end all forms of hunger by 2030.
The conference was inaugurated by Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun. In his inaugural statement, Pun said, “Sustainable development and sustained peace cannot go along with poverty, hunger and inequality.
Attaining sustainable development and peace will be possible only after we end poverty and hunger.”
Acknowledging many challenges to achieving SDGs, he said,”Tackling with these challenges and achieving SDGs need joint efforts at the national and international levels.”
He pointed out that development efforts for the last several decades seem failing to effectively respond the structural causes that create and perpetuate poverty, hunger and malnourishment.
Vice-chairman of National Planning Commission Yubraj Khatiwada, German Ambassador to Nepal Matthias Meyer and Country Director of World Food Programme Pippa Bradford made key addresses to the conference. Khatiwada laid emphasis on SDG 2: Zero hunger as the core of all other goals. Acknowledging that clearing market and clearing poverty were not possible at the same time, he put emphasis on the role of the state in producing, distributing and regulating the market.
Among other things, he stressed on reforms in land entitlements, modernisation and financing; creating jobs; better income and food availability in urban area; and storage and effective distribution of food during emergencies to combat disasters and climate change.
WFP Country Director Bradford suggested that government and civil society clearly articulate development prioritisation in Nepal.
Ambassador Meyer said food security also depends on political condition and circumstances. In Nepal, young people need to be motivated and supported so that they contribute at home rather than going abroad, he suggested.
He also underscored the need for robust monitoring and follow-up system to achieve SDGs.
The conference was organised by Welthungerhilfe, Civil Society Academy, Rural Reconstruction Nepal, Civil Society Alliance for Nutrition Nepal, NGO Federation of Nepal, Right to Food Network, South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication, South Asian School for Rural Reconstruction and LDC.