National SDG Forum - Zero Hunger
The 6th National Sustainable Development Goals Forum took place in Dublin Castle on Wednesday 18th December. The main focus for discussions was SDG2 Zero Hunger. The forum offered a great opportunity to learn about Ireland's efforts oversees whilst also understanding the many challenges at home in Ireland.
The first session heard from the Department of Foreign affairs, who talked Irelands efforts on a global stage to tackle hunger. €70m is pledged annually with efforts aimed at improving productivity amongst smallholders.
Talk also focused on inequality with 800 million people malnourished and 2 billions people overweight, including an estimated 600 million obese.
Aoibheann O’Brien, CEO and founder of Foodcloud highlighted the challenges locally through competing interests. Agriculture accounts for 24% of GHG emissions, whilst farmers are demanding a fair price on beef, whilst the government is pushing the export market.
Whilst 1 in 11 people suffering from food insecurity in Ireland a third of all food in Ireland is wasted. Does this highlight a broken system?
Philip Alston a UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights highlighted the risk of focusing solely on food rather than the bigger picture, poverty.
Judith Hitchman, President of Urgeni International, focused on community supported agriculture, with agroecology a key to more sustainable and healthy choices. Judith also highlighted the need to increase the right to food and nutrition.
James Kiernan of Chambers Ireland talked about a review of their own culture which led to the re-writing of their handbook and how all Irish Chambers have signed an SDG pledge. James also sees the SDG’s as a vehicle to drive Corporate Social Responsibility (SCR), a key focus of Chambers Ireland in 2020.
Tomás Sercovich from Business in the Community continued the CSR, highlighting how they had developed a CSR guide for businesses ‘Better Business, Better Worlds’. Quoting research Tomás stated how leading CEO’s recognise the importance of being socially and environmentally aware and how the SGD’s provide a useful framework. Unfortunately businesses can be hampered by short term thinking and the need to satisfy shareholders.
Karen O’Donohue of GIY (Grow it Yourself) Ireland was the last speaker. Karen gave a passionate presentation highlighting how it’s essential to connect people with their food through growing, cooking and eating their own produce. Their Grow Circle programme aims to engage millions of workers in participating countries through their work with corporates.