Pathways to Zero Hunger

“Achieving Zero Hunger is our shared commitment.

Now is the time to work as partners and build a truly global movement to ensure the Right to Food for all and to build sustainable agriculture and food systems."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,

Committee on World Food Security, Rome, 12 October 2015


Transforming Our Food Systems to Transform Our World

With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations member-states have committed to a comprehensive, integrated and universal transformation. The Agenda is people-centred and based on human rights and social justice. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals cannot happen without ending hunger and malnutrition and without having sustainable and resilient, climate-compatible agriculture and food systems that deliver for people and planet. This requires comprehensive efforts to ensure that every man, woman and child enjoy their Right to Adequate Food; women are empowered; and priority is given to family farming. It requires a renewed focus on how to respond to crises, while all the time building capabilities and resilience within individuals’ and communities’ long-term and proactive strategies that deliver for people and planet. Experience has shown that, with the right mix of policies and political leadership, and with all those who can contribute playing their role, ending hunger and undernutrition is possible.

The Zero Hunger Challenge was launched by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2012. The Zero Hunger vision reflects five elements from within the SDGs, which taken together, can end hunger, eliminate all forms of malnutrition, and build inclusive and sustainable food systems. The ZHC has contributed to a changed narrative. It has inspired action at country level and contributed to ensuring that food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture have remained high on the global development agenda. It has encouraged all to work together towards ending hunger.


A lasting end to hunger and malnutrition cannot be achieved in isolation; achieving Zero Hunger calls for realizing the totality of the 2030 Agenda in ways that benefit everyone, everywhere. Mirroring the integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda, the ZHC promotes integrated approaches that respond to the multiple, interconnected causes of hunger and malnutrition. The comprehensiveness of the approach reflects the reality of the challenges people face everywhere as they seek better agriculture and food systems that deliver improved nutrition and sustainable and resilient rural communities. It appreciates the role of food systems in safeguarding ecosystems and biodiversity and promoting climate justice. Grounded in the right of everyone to have access to adequate, safe and nutritious food, the Zero Hunger vision can significantly contribute to the massive transformations needed to deliver on this ambitious Agenda.

Within the 2030 Agenda, it is now the time to renew the call to action for zero hunger and malnutrition, and for the deep transformations required on agriculture and food systems to build an inclusive, safe, sustainable and resilient society. The ZHC provides a platform that brings together governments, civil society, the private sector, the United Nations system and others for collective impact in the area of food security, nutrition and sustainable food systems.  

Ending hunger and malnutrition, delivering on the 2030 Agenda

Governments will lead implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including efforts to end hunger and create sustainable food systems. The five elements of the ZHC, if integrated into nationally-led SDG implementation strategies, can end hunger and pay dividends right across a broad range of SDGs.  Each element is aligned with the 2030 Agenda and will deliver outcomes across a range of the agenda’s goals and targets.


All Food Systems are Sustainable: From Production to Consumption

Sustainable food systems deliver food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised. The effects of climate change will require sustainable and climate-compatible agriculture practices, including through diversifying production. 



An End to Rural Poverty: Double Small-scale Producer Incomes & Productivity

Ending rural poverty will require a determined effort to increase the income of the small-scale producers. Small-scale producers also hold the key to sustainably feeding a growing global population. This will involve improving people’s wellbeing through sustainable livelihoods: increasing smallholders’ income and productivity and decent rural employment.  


Adapt All Food Systems to Eliminate Loss or Waste of Food

Minimizing food losses during production, storage and transport, and waste of food by retailers and consumers; empowering consumer choice; commitments by producers, retailers and consumers within all nations.




Access Adequate Food and Healthy Diets, for all People, all Year Round

Addressing poverty and inequality and building peoples’ resilience to shocks and stresses. Access to food that forms the basis of healthy and diverse diets is intricately linked to both rights – particularly equity and women’s rights – and resilience.




An End to Malnutrition in all its forms

Malnutrition is both a driver and an outcome of poverty and inequality. Undernutrition can also lead to hidden hunger, wasting and stunting, which causes irreversible damage to both individuals and society. Obesity in childhood is a growing problem in all regions. Ensuring universal access to nutritious food in the 1000-day window of opportunity between the start of pregnancy and a child’s second birthday is essential to tackling stunting. This should be supported by a multi-sectoral approach which includes nutrition-sensitive health care, water, sanitation, education, agriculture, social protection and specific nutrition interventions, coupled with initiatives that enable empowerment of women.

Pathways to 2030

The 2030 Agenda sets out a variety of paths for implementation beyond business as usual: these imply novel relationships and ways of working. This means bringing together a diverse and rich constellation of individuals, organisations and entities that, at all levels, are guided by the vision of a sustainable zero hunger and zero poverty world. The Zero Hunger Challenge seeks to anchor this vision, bringing together the essential elements while serving as a “platform of platforms” where this constellation can build synergies, learn and move together. These elements are channelled through a series of pathways for action.

  • Leaving no one behind
  • Human rights
  • Coherent policies and coordinated action at national, regional and global level
  • Inclusive multi-stakeholder stewardship, at all levels
  • Transformational implementation
  • Investment in sustainable production and consumption, including sustainable food and nutrition systems
  • Women as mothers, farmers and entrepreneurs
  • Reshaping agriculture and food systems in the face of climate change


The Zero Hunger Challenge: a Renewed Call to Action

Vision, Mission and Principles


The Zero Hunger vision of a world free from hunger, malnutrition and rural poverty, achieved through an integrated approach and the transformation of food systems, is fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda, which sets out the goals and targets that we must achieve to make this vision a reality. 

The mission of the Zero Hunger Challenge is to bring together all stakeholders to communicate the importance of food security, nutrition and inclusive, sustainable and resilient agriculture to deliver on the promise of the 2030 Agenda, and to encourage, engage, accelerate and amplify collective action to create food systems that deliver for all people. 

The ZHC will raise the collective ambition and quality of commitment made by its participants, by holding them accountable to a higher standard based on principles and clear guidelines – in line with the heart of the United Nations’ core values and the spirit of the 2030 Agenda, the dignity and worth of the human person, and the promise to leave no one behind. 

The Zero Hunger Challenge is guided by a set of core principles that are grounded in the Charter of the United Nations and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, as well as the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger.

These principles are: Universality, Inclusiveness, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability, Sustainability, Human Rights-Based, Country Led, Gender Sensitive and Partnership Driven.  

The ZHC will look to the following references as the basis to guide the development of commitments in support of the Challenge:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Voluntary Guidelines to support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security; ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights of Work; Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition; Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security; Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems; Framework for Action for Food Security and Nutrition in Protracted Crises; Women’s Empowerment Principles: Equality Means Business; UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; UN Global Compact 10 Principles; Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration); Code of Ethics and Conduct for NGOs

Pathways for Engagement

  • The Zero Hunger Challenge reflects the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda. It is a Call to Action: to make the Zero Hunger vision a reality. 
  • Countries are at the heart of the Zero Hunger Challenge. The Challenge offers a platform for governments to share their plans and experiences with one another and with the broader Movement. The Challenge can also provide a platform for regional collaboration towards Zero Hunger.
  • All who respond to the Challenge are part of Global Movements for Zero Hunger.  They can join the Challenge and work together for measurable progress in ending hunger and malnutrition and creating inclusive, sustainable and resilient food systems by 2030.
  • Those wishing to support the vision set out in the ZHC can do so in a number of ways depending on their capacity to commit themselves or their organisation to deliver real action towards Zero Hunger:
  1. As a Supporter: Any individual person, company or organisation can become a Supporter of the ZHC by joining the Global Movement for Zero Hunger, pledging to advocate and work to make a difference in their own daily life.
  2. As a Participant: Organisations, businesses, multi-stakeholder partnerships and platforms can become aParticipant in the ZHC by making a commitment to take action that will have a demonstrable, quantifiable impact. Such a commitment should be specific, measurable, and time bound; it can be a commitment to implement a certain action, programme or policy (outward), or one of organisational transformation (inward).
  3. As a Champion: All entities will have the opportunity to become a Champion. Zero Hunger Champions are those forward-looking entities which have not only committed to work towards the achievement of Zero Hunger, but they commit to undertake comprehensive measures for transforming their core business models and strategies, aligning with the SDGs, changing the way they work in a new understanding of “business as usual”.

Learn more and Join the Challenge here.

Partnering for Nourishing our People, Nurturing our Planet, Growing Prosperity, Harvesting Peace

Mutual learning, transparency and accountability

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls on stakeholders to report on their contribution to implementation. Fostering transparency and accountability is an essential pillar of transformative organisations, platforms and partnerships.

All individuals, initiatives, partnerships and platforms that join the Challenge commit to principles of acting with integrity, reporting transparently, and being accountable to those at risk of hunger and malnutrition through existing national and international mechanisms. The ZHC serves as a hub for sharing of collective efforts – with mutual analysis, sharing of experiences and learning lessons that contribute to realizing the vision.

The ZHC seeks to serve as a hub for increased mutual learning and transparency where collective global efforts towards Zero Hunger can be aggregated and shared. As a platform for individual and joint commitments, the ZHC is committed to establishing clear criteria and standards against which its supporters, participants and champions can be held accountable for their actions in support of the Challenge. The ZHC will work with partners to put in place a transparent and independent due diligence process.

The ZHC’s objective is to serve as an incentive for all stakeholders to reinforce their own accountability mechanisms, serve as a platform for broader transparency, and build on the existing accountability and transparency mechanisms. The ZHC will work with existing mechanisms, such as the United Nations Global Compact, on the development of a robust accountability process that avoids overlap, duplication and multiple reporting. 

The ZHC will report on a yearly basis on progress on the different commitments made by its members. In order to ensure that the contribution of the ZHC is captured as part of the broader effort to deliver on the 2030 Agenda, a relationship whereby the Committee on World Food Security is updated on ZHC progress on an annual basis will be explored.