Zero Hunger Challenge and the Think. Eat. Save. campaign

Prices at Niger's food markets are spiking in the aftermath of a patchy harvest, causing concern among food security experts that many could soon go hungry. The failed harvest, brought on by drought, has driven prices up. According to the Government of Niger, some 750,000 people are severely food insecure, a number expected to reach one million by early 2012 as the country moves towards its traditional lean season in March and April. In response to the looming food crisis, WFP is aiming to support some 3.3 million people over the coming year with life-saving food assistance. 15 November 2011 Tseidawa, NigerAt the Rio+20 Conference in 2012, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a new initiative, the Zero Hunger Challenge. One billion people do not have enough to eat and the Secretary-General wants to see an end to hunger in his lifetime. In support of this initiative UNEP, FAO and partners launched a new global campaign to cut food waste Think. Eat. Save.

The challenge of Zero Hunger means:

    1. 100% access to adequate food all year round
    2. Zero stunted children less than 2 years
    3. All food systems are sustainable
    4. 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income
    5. Zero loss or waste of food

In support of the Zero Hunger Challenge, the Think.Eat.Save. campaign aims to accelerate action and provide a global vision and information-sharing portal for the many and diverse initiatives currently underway around the world to reduce and eliminate food waste. Think. Eat. Save. was also the 2013 World Environment Day theme.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted or lost. This volume of waste is more than the total net production of Sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger. Approximately 98% of the world’s hungry live in developing nations.

Given this enormous imbalance in lifestyles and the resultant devastating effects on the environment, this year’s theme – Think.Eat.Save – encourages you to reduce your foodprint. The idea is for you to become more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices you make and empower you to make informed decisions.

While the planet is struggling to provide us with enough resources to sustain its 7 billion people (growing to 9 billion by 2050), FAO estimates that a third of global food production is either wasted or lost. Food waste is an enormous drain on natural resources and a contributor to negative environmental impacts.

In fact, global food production uses 25% of all habitable land and is responsible for 70% of fresh water consumption, 80% of deforestation, and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is the largest single driver of biodiversity loss and land-use change.

Making informed decision means, for example, that you purposefully select foods that have less of an environmental impact, such as organic foods that do not use chemicals in the production process. Choosing to buy locally can also mean that foods are not flown halfway across the world and therefore limit emissions.

For more information see the Zero Hunger Challenge and Think. Eat. Save. information pages.