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Thematic reports

A/74/164 : Report on Sustainable Development Goal 2 and the right to food


28 October 2019

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Sustainable Development Goals

Background: world hunger still on the rise

The Sustainable Development Goals officially came into force in 2015. The 2030 Agenda sets an ambitious objective: a model of more equitable and sustainable development that puts people at its centre and is explicitly grounded in all human rights, as expressed through the language “no one left behind.”

Despite some progress, hunger and malnutrition are still increasing. The proportion of undernourished people worldwide increased from 10.6 per cent in 2015 to 11.0 per cent in 2016. This translates to 815 million undernourished people worldwide in 2016, up from 777 million in 2015. In 2017, 151 million children under age 5 suffered from stunting (low height for their age), 51 million suffered from wasting (low weight for height), and 38 million were overweight.

Evidence also suggests that the SDGs are stalling. Despite efforts to elicit widespread participation in the 2030 Agenda, institutional impediments have hindered effective implementation of the SDGs. Persistent inequalities based on gender, ethnicity, nationality and geography have further undermined the SDGs’ success.


This report focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals as a potentially transformative tool to advance people’s full enjoyment of the right to food, as well as other economic, social and cultural rights. The promise of the Goals to leave no one behind in the pursuit of human rights for all reflects the principles of equality and non-discrimination.

Yet inequality and the inequitable distribution of food and productive resources remain keys barrier to fulfilling the right to food. This is especially the case for populations who have been historically left behind. Engaging these populations to help shape policy, and implementing the Goals from a holistic, human rights-based approach will revitalize efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, and enable the universal enjoyment of the right to food.


To inform this report, the Special Rapporteur sought inputs from States, NGOs, private sector actors, academic institutions and all relevant stakeholders, through responses to the following request:

“In light of the background (above), please provide a brief description of any good practices—particularly practices based on a human rights approach—of States and other stakeholders, including private companies, to address inequality, and to monitor, support and implement progress under the relevant SDGs, notably SDG 2.”

The Special Rapporteur is grateful for all submissions received.

Issued By:

Special Rapporteur on the right to food

Delivered To:

UN General Assembly's 74th session