United States

Implementing SDGs to End Poverty and Malnutrition through Sustainable Development

Photograph: Ippei Tsuruga
Photograph: Ippei Tsuruga

At the United Nations General Assembly in this month, representatives will adopt a new sustainable development goals (SDGs), consisting of 17 goals and 169 targets. It illustrates a road towards 2030. One single message word would be no one should be left behind. Another key word is environment. Though there is a general agreement to work on poverty eradication and environmental friendly development, it has not been identified how to implement.

On September 2, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) organised a panel discussion ‘Road to New York: Keeping the SDGs’ Agenda in Focus’ to discuss how the development community should be engaged in SDGs. Here is my brief memo for what panellists argued.

At the end of panel discussion, Nabeeha Kazi, Humanitas Global Development, the moderator, asked each panellist, ‘what to take to New York’ as important agenda. The answers were ‘poverty eradication’, ‘implementation’, and ‘data’.

Photograph: Ippei Tsuruga
Photograph: Ippei Tsuruga

Francisco Ferreira, World Bank

  • The World Bank will aim at twin goals of reducing extreme poverty to 3 percent, and promoting shared prosperity for the bottom 40 percent. We are pleased to see SGDs include an inequality goal. With the goal, we cannot simply target absolute poverty through growth but also need to focus on distribution.
  • There is an agreement of importance of multidimensional poverty. But there is no agreement on what indicators or dimensions to be included. Income poverty targets may be achievable but what of other dimensions? Inequality will be another problem. Reducing poverty is no longer enough.

Homi Kharas, Brookings Institution

  • Hunger, food security and nutrition will be an important area to work on (Goal 2). A challenge is how to measure or what indicators to measure achievements. It is estimated that the number of malnourished children will possibly decrease from 12 percent to 7 percent with a business-as-usual model. However, it will be challenging to get it closer to zero.
  • Public investment in nutrition is extremely limited. Nutrition budget is about $205 per capita in developing countries. Of which $180 come from their self-financing, while ODA and FDI contribute to very few proportion.
  • Data collection and analysis are multi-stakeholder’s tasks. Data does not necessarily come from a national statistical office. Thanks to technology, we can think about methods to collect data from individuals, remote sensing etc.
Photograph: Ippei Tsuruga
Photograph: Ippei Tsuruga

Claudia Ringler, IFPRI

  • All goals and targets related to agriculture production and environment system will be important. It is good that SDGs put goals and targets on developed countries as well, for climate change related issues.

Andrew Steer, World Resources Institute

  • Monitoring is important. In order to measure the achievement of each goal, we need to think how to monitor. Monitoring means how to count and scale. For example, how can we monitor deforestation?
  • To eradicate hunger, we need to deal with food loss and waste. Again, how can we measure? Thanks to technology, data collection has been improved.

Shenggen Fan, IFPRI

  • Food security and nutrition are our focus (Goal 2). Since April 2013, those issues are under serious consideration. To work on, we need data. To achieve this goal, a role of research community is vital.
  • Eradication of malnourishment or hunger can be achieved by 2030. Malnutrition and child stunting will be a critical challenge. By 2025, it is estimated that there will be still 40 percent of children suffering from malnutrition. Good news is there are some cases that show a significant achievement within a short period of time. Thailand has reduced child stunting from 30 percent to 7 percent for 20 years. Vietnam, Bangladesh and Ethiopia also made great progress.
  • A key of success is to take combined approaches across health, social protection, direct intervention of nutrition, community works and so on.

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