In 2003, with the launch of the Zero Hunger Program and the successive implementation of income transfer policies, Brazil witnessed a true social revolution: millions of Brazilians left the condition of extreme poverty and, in ten years, the country ceased to appear in the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Hunger Map.
The Brazilian model to fight hunger inspired countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa to establish its eradication as a possible goal. And in 2015, Zero Hunger became one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), replacing the Millennium Goals that sought to reduce hunger only by half.
Unfortunately, the effects of the economic recession, in association with armed conflicts and the devastating impact of climate change, reversed the downward trend in recent decades and started to increase – right after 2015, year after year – the number of hungry people in global scale. It is worth mentioning that the struggle to eradicate hunger and poverty is the key to achieving a more equal and fairer world. In summary, achieving SDG 2 is a sine qua non condition for the full fulfillment of Agenda 2030.
In the Brazilian case, less than six years after leaving the Map, the disarticulation of government food security systems, coupled with the worsening of the economic crisis and restrictions on social investments, has repositioned hunger among the country’s main concerns. And with an aggravating factor: the coexistence of malnutrition with the exponential increase in obesity and overweight, on all continents, made ODS number 2 – global zero hunger – one of the most difficult to achieve by 2030, according to a report published by UN General Assembly last year.
Faced with these challenges, the Instituto Fome Zero (IFZ) was born with the perspective of supporting policies to fight hunger and all forms of malnutrition, the highest among the priorities of Brazil and the international community.
To make this possible, IFZ will work in five areas:
1.- Promote the Right to Adequate Food and its legal framework: The drastic reduction of hunger in Brazil was the result of the political will of a concerted articulation between government entities. But this is not enough: it is necessary to establish a legal architecture that introduces solid mechanisms for individual social protection guarantees. IFZ will work to promote the importance of legal and legislative frameworks to eradicate hunger and malnutrition;
2.- Support the formulation of policies to fight hunger and malnutrition: The adoption of policies and mechanisms to fight hunger and malnutrition need to be managed and conducted on a permanent basis and with the participation of the whole society.
3.- Involvement of the three federative spheres: successful policies to fight hunger and malnutrition in Brazil were born historically from local initiatives and were later replicated at regional and national levels. At the same time, it is necessary to create mechanisms to make cities capable of making their food systems more sustainable. IFZ will compile successful city experiences and help decision makers at the municipal level to formulate healthy food systems policies;
4.- Local development – the connection between family farming-new technologies-sustainable production: shortening the circuits between production and consumption is at the core of solutions for local development. This involves investment in family farmers and their agroecological production to meet the direct demand of consumers in urban centers, with the help of new distribution technologies. IFZ will emphasize the importance of an agroecological approach by countries and institutions and raise awareness of the importance of local producers and family farmers;
5.- South-south cooperation and sharing experiences in the post-Coronavirus world: The COVID19 pandemic has made it increasingly necessary to increase cooperation practices at the international level. In this perspective, successful examples of combating hunger and malnutrition need to be shared with countries, organizations and institutions. IFZ will compile experiences to combat hunger in countries and support them to be adapted by other nations and disseminated by other institutions.
Instituto Fome Zero will also have the mission of preserving the history of the fight against hunger in Brazil, starting with the life and work of Josué de Castro, including the militancy of Herbert de Souza (Betinho) with his so significant humanitarian campaigns, José Gomes da Silva with the first proposal for Food Security for Brazil in the Parallel Government in 1993 and for the implementation of the Food Security Policy in the Lula Government, under the coordination of José Graziano da Silva as Minister of Food Security and Fight against Hunger and, subsequently, as Director-General of FAO.