Skip main navigation

Food poverty and insecurity

How do we address global food insecurity? In this article read how the SDGs and food insecurity connect.
© The University of Waikato and UN Sustainable Development Programme

As we have built our knowledge on SDGs and their local contexts, we realise that the goals are difficult (if not impossible) to separate and address singularly. Of course, addressing one goal is going to affect goals in other areas. SDGs are tied together here under examination of food insecurity. Addressing food insecurity joins SDGs such as:

  • Goal (1) End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal (2) End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  • Goal (3) Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
  • Goal (13) Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

In this activity, we use the scale of the neighbourhood (or suburbs) to examine how food poverty and food distribution meet. Again, this draws on the global food chain and how it operates at the local level.

As we previously examined with the fridge, food waste is a huge global issue. Not only does wasting food cause problems for the environment as it decays in landfills, but significant resources are also wasted to produce food which is not eaten. With the fridge example, we spent time thinking about how to be more efficient in our household food waste practices. Here we consider some of the issues with food waste at a larger scale than the home and how food distribution is uneven.

While some households can afford to bin their food waste, more and more households are experiencing food poverty and food insecurity for a multitude of reasons. Top of the list would be rising house prices, rental increases, and the increased cost of living. At the same time people have suffered job losses and wages have stagnated under pandemic conditions as economies radically realign around Covid-19/Delta variant.

Projections now show the world is not on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger by 2030. The food security and nutritional status of the most vulnerable population groups is likely to deteriorate further due to the health and socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 report here.

The latest edition of that report, which was published mid-2020, estimated that almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019 – up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years. High costs and low affordability also mean billions cannot eat healthily or nutritiously. The hungry are most numerous in Asia, but expanding fastest in Africa. Across the planet, the report forecasted, the COVID-19 pandemic could tip over 130 million more people into chronic hunger by the end of 2020. At the same time, as we will delve deeper shortly, people are literally throwing food away!

How can more equitable access to food be achieved?

© The University of Waikato and UN Sustainable Development Programme
This article is from the free online

Sustainable Development Goals: People, Place, and Environment

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education