What is SDG 2?

Several years on from their initial conception, and the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seems more out of reach than ever before. With the COVID-19 pandemic reversing years of global progress in tackling poverty, women’s rights and climate action, sustained progress must be made to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for all. 

SDG 2: Zero Hunger was a global target aiming to eradicate hunger in all countries and forms by 2030. Despite decades of decline in the number of hungry people worldwide, the number of people who suffer from hunger has risen again over the last few years. As 2021’s Sustainable Development Report highlights, hundreds of millions of people have now been pushed back into extreme poverty and chronic hunger, with almost 700 million people worldwide currently classified as facing hunger. 

There are eight key targets that must be met worldwide to achieve SDG 2: Zero Hunger. These key objectives include improving access to food, preventing trade restrictions, investing in rural infrastructure and agricultural research, supporting small-scale food producers and addressing nutritional deficiencies. 

However, realisation of SDG 2 will not come without addressing all global inequalities in tandem. A holistic approach to achieving all of the Sustainable Development Goals is needed to ensure we can advance international prosperity, and tackle inequalities once and for all. Determination and resolve is needed now more than ever before. 

How does SDG 2 apply to Afghanistan? 

The SDGs were established with the view of being realised everywhere by 2030, irrespective of country-specific contexts. Alongside global issues such as coronavirus, Afghanistan has faced its own complex challenges in the past 12 months. 

Since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, Afghan men and women have been facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, in part due to economic collapse and severe ongoing drought. One of the most egregious consequences of these challenges has been the effect on food security across Afghanistan, with millions of people in the country now experiencing acute hunger. 

Afghanistan remains one of the countries most affected by the consequences of the climate crisis, causing the severity and frequency of natural disasters across the country to increase. Floods, droughts and landslides among others dramatically affect the livelihoods of many small-scale agricultural communities. With 80% of Afghan families relying on agriculture for at least part of their income, when disasters strike, families are left without income sources, and also without their own food sources. Afghanistan’s ongoing drought has caused widespread food shortages, with many farmers unable to grow sufficient crops. 

Economic collapse has also meant that millions of families are unable to afford basic food necessities. This, coupled with the global price rises in wheat and fuel, has meant that Afghan families are now being forced to spend around 91% of their household income on food. 

These compounding issues have meant that as of October 2022, 9 in 10 Afghan families are currently not eating enough food on a daily basis, with 18.9 million people facing acute food insecurity. 3.9 million children are acutely malnourished, with studies suggesting that 6 million people across the country are now on the brink of famine. 

In order to achieve SDG 2 in Afghanistan, we know that we must be attune to these ongoing challenges in the country, and deliver emergency humanitarian support to families most vulnerable to food insecurity.

Afghanaid and SDG 2: Zero Hunger

Many of our projects consist of activities which work towards achieving SDG 2: Zero Hunger:

Our projects work to:

1. Ensure the most vulnerable families have access to emergency food support 

In August 2021, following the Taliban return to power and subsequent collapse of the economy, we mobilised quickly to deliver humanitarian assistance to those who needed it most. Since then, we have delivered emergency support to almost 1.5 million people. This support includes delivering food packages to 296,752 families, providing them with enough food to support them for four months at a time, including necessities such as flour, rice, oil and pulses. We have also delivered cash assistance to thousands of families, allowing them to purchase the food their families need.

We have also ensured that vulnerable young children and babies are protected from malnutrition, delivering 2 months’ worth of soya-based supplementary food to over 85,879 babies and children under five. 

Since last year, it has become even harder for women and female-headed households to earn an income and provide for their families. 96% of female-headed households are currently unable to eat enough daily food to sustain themselves. Our humanitarian assistance, livelihood strengthening and economic inclusion projects always aim to support the most vulnerable in Afghan society, and so supporting single and widowed mothers is an important facet of our work. We have delivered food packages to thousands of female-headed households over the past 12 months.

2. Assist farmers to use sustainable, productive agricultural techniques and mitigate the effects of climate change

Alongside delivering short-term assistance to vulnerable households, it is vital that we continue long-term projects supporting agricultural communities, to ensure we can improve longer term food security. In the past three years, our agriculture projects have supported 87,727 farmers. We assist farmers by improving their agricultural systems and livestock care, through access to better seeds, techniques, irrigation systems, boosting productivity and strengthening resilience.

We also work alongside farming communities to mitigate the dangers of climate-induced disasters, establishing 71 community-based disaster management committees. These committees help communities identify areas at-risk from natural disasters, and engage in proactive projects alongside us to protect themselves and their food sources. 

We also trained rural women in financial management, livestock care and food production. Supported with new skills and knowledge, thousands more Afghan women are now able to tackle food insecurity in their areas and provide for their families. This support transforms the lives of women like Arzo*, who told us how important this support has been: “With Afghanaid’s support, we have been able to make our lives better. Right now things are difficult for people. Since last year, the price of food and other items has increased, but our animals are healthy and we have food to eat and a way to make some money.” 

What can you do to help? 

Our supporters have ensured that we can continue to deliver projects that tackle SDG 2 in Afghanistan. Last winter, humanitarian assistance averted famine in numerous provinces across Afghanistan. As we approach the winter months, continuing this support will be critical in protecting vulnerable families from famine and hunger. 

Thank you for joining us in working towards SDG 2: Zero Hunger, especially during such testing times for everyone, and for helping us support as many families facing hunger as possible. 

Set up a regular gift today, and you will allow us to plan ahead, ensuring we can deliver sustained support and enact longer-term projects to tackle widespread food insecurity.

*All figures accurate as of October 2022