Nutrition and the sustainable development goals

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Every woman, man and child has the right to adequate food and nutrition. Good nutrition is the bedrock for human wellbeing and potential. The first 1,000 days – from a mother’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday – is a pivotal window that determines a child’s destiny. Good nutrition builds strong immune systems, supercharging children’s chances of survival and protecting them their whole lives. It’s also critical for adolescent girls and mothers before pregnancy, as their health will ensure their children get the best start in life and halt the vicious, intergenerational cycle of malnutrition.

The SUN Movement continues to focus on ensuring good nutrition in the first 1,000 days to prevent the irreversible effects of stunting, however the Movement must adapt to also help its members tackle multiple forms of malnutrition.

This Strategy presents a practical vision of how we can work together for an end to malnutrition by 2030. By sharing experiences,  overcoming challenges and showing results, the countries of the SUN Movement are demonstrating that together, we can ensure that people everywhere will get the best possible start in life and achieve their full potential.”

Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General, a message for the SUN Movement Strategy and Roadmap (2016-2020).

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has committed all governments to comprehensive, integrated and universal transformations, including ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030. They are galvanising action to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


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Malnutrition (which includes several forms of undernutrition as well as overweight and obesity) impairs people’s productivity which, in turn, impairs national growth. In this sense, malnutrition will represent an often invisible impediment to the successful achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Good nutrition is both an outcome of development and the seed that will grow future development.

An estimated 45% of all under five mortality is linked to malnutrition (Black et al. 2013). It results not just from a lack of sufficient and adequately nutritious and safe food, but from a host of intertwined factors linking health, care, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, access to food and resources, women’s empowerment and more.

Whilst the ambition to ‘End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture’ is captured in SDG 2, at least 12 of the 17 Goals contain indicators that are highly relevant to nutrition. Without adequate and sustained investments in good nutrition, the SDGs will not be realised.