Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero hunger

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2Footnote 1 aims to:

  • end hunger
  • achieve food security
  • improve nutrition
  • promote sustainable agriculture

Food insecurity, malnutrition and hunger are urgent global problems. They have significant negative impacts on the development potential and quality of life of people in many countries.

Canadian ambition under Zero hunger

Under SDG 2, the Government of Canada is focusing on:

  • ensuring that Canadians have access to sufficient, affordable and nutritious food
  • ensuring that Canadian agriculture is sustainable

To advance these ambitions, key targets and indicators have been selected, based on current programming undertaken by the Government of Canada to improve food insecurity and environmental performance of the agricultural sector. These targets and indicators are part of a Canadian Indicator Framework (CIF) which allows the Government of Canada to make appropriate performance measurement linkages to track and report on progress toward achieving the 2030 Agenda goals. It provides the most current information available on a selection of indicators, as a method to inform Canada’s progress as it works toward achieving each of the 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda and each of the 31 Canadian Ambitions. For example, supporting improvement in the environmental performance of the agriculture sector by achieving a score of 71 or higherFootnote 2 for the Index of Agri-Environmental Sustainability by 2030 is one of the targets included in the CIF under SDG 2, which supports the ambition that “Canada’s agriculture is sustainable”.

Canadian Indicator Framework

In collaboration with federal departments and agencies, Statistics Canada has developed the Canadian Indicator Framework (CIF) for the Sustainable Development Goals. The CIF includes 76 indicators specific to Canada, which measure progress using a set of nationally relevant, objective and comprehensive indicators. CIF indicators for SDG 2 are:

  • prevalence of food insecurity
  • index of Agri-Environmental Sustainability

What we are doing to reduce hunger and promote sustainable agriculture in Canada

Reduce hunger

The Food Policy for Canada provides the foundation for increased integration and coordination of food-related policies and programs to make progress towards healthier and more sustainable food systems. The Policy’s vision is that:

  • all people in Canada are able to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food
  • Canada’s food system is resilient and innovative, sustains our environment and supports our economy
  • there is specific support for Indigenous food self-determination

The Government of Canada created the Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council as a central piece of the Food Policy for Canada. The multi-stakeholder Council reports to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and provides advice on food system issues, including food insecurity.

Under the Food Policy for Canada, the 5 year Local Food Infrastructure Fund is designed to improve access to safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food. It provides support to community-based, not-for-profit organizations to reduce food insecurity by establishing and/or strengthening local food systems.

Similarly, the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council (CAYC) is a group of young Canadians providing advice, enabling on-going dialogue on food-related challenges and opportunities, sharing information and best practices, and advising on the strengths and weaknesses of policies and programs affecting the agriculture and agri-food sectors.

Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy recognizes that poverty and food security are intricately linked, and includes food insecurity as an indicator on the Strategy’s Dimensions of Poverty Hub under the Dignity Pillar. This strategy seeks to reduce and remove systemic barriers, including for those communities that face unique barriers that can make them more vulnerable to poverty.

The Government of Canada will strengthen Canada’s food system by working together with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous partners and stakeholders to develop a National Children’s Food Policy and to work toward a national children’s nutritious meal program.

The Nutrition North Canada (NNC) program supports increased access and availability of nutritious food to residents of eligible isolated and remote communities in Canada’s North without year-round surface access. Budget 2021 provided funding to expand the Nutrition North Canada’s programming. The program supports communities in all 3 territories, and northern regions of 6 provinces. Nutrition North Canada helps to make nutritious food and some essential items more affordable and more accessible. In addition to NNC’s retail subsidy program, its co-developed Harvesters Support Grant was deployed in 2020. It is directly supporting isolated communities obtain and share country foods from the land in keeping with Indigenous rights and traditions while expanding local food sharing systems.

The Northern Isolated Community Initiatives Fund focuses on finding innovative and practical solutions to support Canada’s Indigenous food production systems, and increase food security in Canada’s North in collaboration with other federal, territorial and Indigenous partners.

Canada supports knowledge development on the nature and extent of household food insecurity, including Indigenous Peoples in Canada, prioritizing vulnerable populations at risk of food insecurity, and undertakes international collaboration on food safety.

The Emergency Food Security Fund supports food banks and local food organizations to help improve access to food for people experiencing food insecurity in Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Support to such emergency hunger relief organizations helps reduce food insecurity amongst children as they count for more than a third of those who rely on food banks.

The Emergency Processing Fund is a one-time federal investment to help companies implement changes to safeguard the health and safety of workers and their families due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Surplus Food Rescue Program helps support Canada’s food system, food processors, producers and distributors to manage and redirect surplus food to organizations addressing food insecurity.

Building on our investments of nearly $250 million to improve food security, Budget 2021 provided an additional $140 million to top up the Emergency Food Security Fund and the Local Food Infrastructure Fund, to help prevent hunger, strengthen food security in our communities, and provide nutritious food to more Canadians.

The Agri-food and Aquaculture Regulatory Review Roadmap, published in 2019, identifies actions being taken by Health Canada to re-design food regulations to reduce impediments that prevent industry from bringing innovative products to market by establishing regulatory frameworks to allow, for example, new paths to market in areas such as Human Milk Fortifiers and Supplemented Foods. It will also provide greater flexibility and agility to the regulations to be able to respond to advances in science and technology, while protecting the health and safety of Canadians.

Wild capture fisheries are a lifeline in Canada’s coastal and Indigenous communities for food security and well-being as well as cultural continuity and economic development. Fisheries and Oceans Canada contributes to the goal of sustainable food systems, through responsible, science-based fisheries management under the Sustainable Fisheries Framework which promotes and ensures precautionary and ecosystem based approaches are used to keep fish stocks healthy, protect biodiversity and fisheries habitats, and make sure that fisheries remain productive in order to meet current and future needs.

Improve environmental sustainability of the agricultural sector

The Government of Canada is developing a green agricultural plan for Canada to provide direction and support the sector’s actions on climate change and other environmental priorities towards 2030 and 2050.

Under the Natural Climate Solutions Fund, the Agricultural Climate Solutions program provides opportunities for the agriculture sector to use natural climate solutions and conserve, sustainably manage, and restore ecosystems, while helping to develop and implement farming practices to tackle climate change. A second stream, the On-Farm Climate Action Fund, will support producers in adopting beneficial management practices that reduce greenhouse gases and store carbon, specifically nitrogen management, cover cropping, and rotational grazing practices.

The Agricultural Clean Technology Program aims to create an enabling environment for the development and adoption of clean technologies with a focus on 3 priority areas: green energy and energy efficiency; precision agriculture; and the bioeconomy.

The Living Laboratories Initiative, a new approach to agricultural innovation in Canada, brings together farmers, scientists, and other collaborators to co-develop and test innovative practices and technologies to address agri-environmental issues.

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership helps the agriculture and agri-food sector with cost-shared programs and ensures continued innovation and sustainable growth, while addressing priority environmental issues related to water, soil, air, biodiversity, and climate change.

Aquaculture represents almost 20% of total seafood production in Canada and about a third of total economic value of fisheries. Fisheries and Oceans Canada ensures that aquaculture is managed sustainably across the country under the Fisheries Act, including where the provincial government has a lead leasing or licensing role. The Department also conducts targeted regulatory research on fish pests and pathogens, ecosystem management and interactions with wild fish populations, as well as collaborative research to improve environmental decision making and sustainability of the aquaculture industry.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada protects, conserves and restores aquatic habitat, including to support fisheries that are central to communities, notably Indigenous communities, which may rely on them for food, social or traditional reasons.

What Canada is doing to help reduce hunger abroad

In 2020 to 2021, the Government of Canada provided the following international assistance in support of achieving SDG 2:

  • provided over $440 million in international assistance dedicated to food security and nutrition
  • signed on to the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Crisis Compact underscoring Canada’s commitment to better supporting food security around world
  • supported a comprehensive approach to respond to the food security and malnutrition impacts of COVID-19 that includes short-term humanitarian assistance, nutrition services and safety net programs and agriculture and food systems programming that enhances resilience to build back better
  • supported gender-sensitive nutrition for the poorest and most marginalized people by enhancing access to nutritious food, micronutrients and comprehensive nutrition services, and supporting nutrition-sensitive food systems throughout the lifecycle, with a focus on women, young children, and adolescent girls
  • provided $828 million to agriculture, food security and nutrition, of which $ 464 million was to emergency food assistance
  • provided $387 million in funding to the World Food Programme, Canada’s largest humanitarian partner, helping them reach 115.5 million people in 84 countries and provide school meals to 15 million children in 59 countries in 2020
  • provided $243 million in funding to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to support rural agriculture development
  • provided $92.5 million in funding to Nutrition International for high-impact nutrition interventions, including micronutrient supplements (vitamin A, iron, folic acid, zinc), iodized salt, antenatal care, nutrition counselling, fortified staple foods, and national policy planning

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