Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Food and nutrition is a basic requirement for health and wellbeing. Whilst globally we produce more than enough food for today's population, 815 million people remained undernourished in 2016.

Improving nutrition extends beyond basic caloric needs and incorporates all forms of malnutrition including childhood wasting, stunting, micronutrient deficiencies (particularly in children, pregnant and lactating women), and obesity. Malnutrition is therefore highly relevant to all countries.

You can find many more visuals and statistics on hunger and undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity at our full entries on these topics. Our entries on famines, food per person, and diet compositions also tie closely to these topics.

Target 2.1

By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.

The chart below shows the share of the total population defined as undernourished. This is defined as the share of the population which fall below the minimum level of dietary energy (caloric) requirements. Data therefore refers to the percentage of the population whose food intake is insufficient to consistently meet dietary energy requirements.

Data for high-income countries where the prevalence of undernourishment is below 5% is not included.

Target 2.2

By 2030, end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.

Malnutrition in children can arise in several forms — two of the main indicators of childhood development and nutrition is 'stunting' and 'wasting'. The share of children (under 5 years old) defined as stunted or wasted are shown in the two charts below.

'Stunting' (too little height-for-age) refers to children with a height which falls more than two standard deviations below the median height-for-age of the WHO Child Growth Standards. 'Wasting' (too low weight-for-height) refers to to children with a weight-for-height which falls more than two standard deviations below the median for international reference population.


The chart below shows the share of children under 5 years old who are overweight (children with a weight-for-height more than two standard deviations above the median of the WHO's Child Growth Standards).

Adequate nutrition in adolescent, pregnant and lactating women can have a significant impact on health outcomes not only for women's health but also a child's nutritional and health outcomes. Micronutrient deficiencies — in particular anemia and vitamin-A deficiency in women and children — is an important indicator of nutritional quality.

The charts below show the share of pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and children suffering from anemia, followed by the share of women and children suffering from vitamin-A deficiency (which can result in symptoms including night blindness).

Prevalence of anemia

Prevalence of vitamin-A deficiency

Prevalence of night blindness

Target 2.4

Proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture.

Maintaining high-quality land and soil is crucial to productive agriculture, not only today, but also in ensuring our agricultural systems are sustainable over the long-run. Our metrics for tracking productive and sustainable agricultural land are currently poorly-defined.

In the charts below we present the World Bank measures of agricultural land organically managed (although such data for most countries is currently unavailable). These metrics, however, do not guarantee that lands are productive or sustainable. We cover a range of questions related to agricultural land use, environmental impacts and crop yields in our entry on Yields and Land Use in Agriculture.

Target 2.5

By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species.

Our agricultural systems rely on genetic diversity - in both seeds, plants and livestock breeds. The numbers and share of plant varieties and livestock breeds stored in medium to long-term conservation facilities, and the number of livestock breeds at risk of extinction are shown in the charts below.

Target 2a

Increase investment in rural infrastructure, agricultural research and extension services, technology development and plant and livestock gene banks.

Improving crop production, agricultural practices and the welfare of farmers is crucial to building resilient and secure food systems.

Investment in rural infrastructure (to connect rural and increasingly urbanizing populations) are vital to building supply chains which work for both urban population centres and agricultural producers. Investing in research, technological innovations and gene banks will also help to develop increasingly productive and sustainable food production systems.

Target 2c

Adopt measures to ensure the proper functioning of food commodity markets and their derivatives and facilitate timely access to market information, including on food reserves, in order to help limit extreme food price volatility.

Producing enough food for all is not the only challenge in ending hunger and malnutrition. Distribution, access and affordability are also essential. Food pricing is not only important for consumer affordability, but also to ensure food producers maintain a steady and sufficient income. Market and pricing is stability (and avoiding large volatility) is therefore crucial — below we see national data on food price volatility.

Further trends and data on food prices can be found at our entry here.