One Year since Launch of Zero Hunger Challenge, Momentum Builds as Initiative Attracts Support from Governments, Multilateral Organizations

21 June 2013

One Year since Launch of Zero Hunger Challenge, Momentum Builds as Initiative Attracts Support from Governments, Multilateral Organizations

21 June 2013
Press Release
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

One Year since Launch of Zero Hunger Challenge, Momentum Builds as Initiative

Attracts Support from Governments, Multilateral Organizations


One year since United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Zero Hunger Challenge at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, a broad range of countries, groups and individuals have taken action to eliminate hunger.

The Challenge invites all countries to be boldly ambitious in working for a future in which every individual has adequate nutrition and all food systems are resilient.  “Our world has enough food to feed every man, woman and child, yet 870 million people — one of every eight members of the human family — go hungry,” said the Secretary-General.  “People across the world share my outrage and are taking up the challenge to end hunger in our lifetime.”

He welcomed the high level of political attention to hunger and food security demonstrated at high-level meetings held in Addis Ababa, Brussels, Dublin, London, Paris and Washington, D.C., in recent weeks, where Governments, civil society organizations and the private sector made concrete commitments to eradicate hunger.  Pledges exceeded the $25 billion made at the “Nutrition for Growth” high-level event held in London ahead of the Group of Eight (G8) Summit.

Emphasizing that strong political leadership and the right policies can produce dramatic reductions in levels of hunger and malnutrition, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced that 38 countries have already halved the percentage of their respective populations that go hungry before the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.

Programmes in line with the Zero Hunger Challenge are taking shape in 16 countries in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  Antigua and Barbuda, Mexico and Pakistan recently announced plans to launch Zero Hunger programmes with the help of national and international partners.  Politicians in Mexico City and London have declared their intention to become “Zero Hunger Cities”.

“ Antigua and Barbuda has taken the Zero Hunger Challenge seriously,” said John Ashe, that country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.  “We are working with the UN and the Inter-American Institute for Agriculture to ensure that not a single person in Antigua and Barbuda suffers from hunger or lives in extreme poverty.”

Much activity involves cooperation between developing countries.  Through the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Centre of Excellence against Hunger, Brazil has shared its successful “Fome Zero” experience through the WFP Centre of Excellence to improve national school meal programmes, family agriculture and food distribution.

FAO and the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) initiative “Think.Eat.Save–Reduce Your Foodprint” aims to reduce food waste and loss, one of the five elements of the Challenge.  The 2013 World Environment Day inspired people to save food through events in more than 150 countries.

The Zero Hunger Challenge has been adopted by the 23 multilateral organizations that make up the High-Level Task Force for Global Food Security.  They are providing support to projects including the Hunger-Free Initiative for West Africa, La Iniciativa América Latina y Caribe sin Hambre, and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson helped launch the Zero Hunger Challenge in Bangkok at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) in Bangkok last April.  Parliaments in 14 countries in Latin America, as well as the European Parliament, now have multiparty groups in support of reducing hunger.

At the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Zero Hunger Challenge was welcomed as part of the agricultural development and food security resolution, with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, the Group of Least Developed Countries, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the European Union all explicitly endorsing it in the Second Committee (Economic and Financial).

For more information, please contact Anthea Webb, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), e-mail:, tel.:  +1 212 906 6692; or, in the United Nations Department of Public Information, Dan Shepard, e-mail:, tel.:  +1 212 963 9495; or Charlotte Scaddan, e-mail:; tel.:  +1 917 367 9378.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.