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Zero hunger & sustainable Blue future

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Urooj Aijaz : The writer is an Economist and Ph.D. Scholar working as Faculty at Bahria University Karachi in Department of Humanities & Social Sciences. She is a member of National Advisory Board of Innovation, Member of Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry and National coordinator of Blue Economy. She can be reached at uroojaijaz.bukc@bahria.edu.pk

World food day is celebrated on 16th October every year but in year 2021, it comes at a time when the world is facing the impacts of Covid-19 amidst multiple natural hazards, shocks and Trans-boundary pests. Despite of many past achievements, if we analyze today than there is no doubt in the fact that the world is not on track to achieve sustainable development goal of zero hunger. According to the UN world food program hunger map 2021, almost 957 million people across 93 countries do not have enough to eat and according to Global Humanitarian Outlook projects 239 million people in need of life-saving humanitarian action and protection this year while FAO currently estimates that nearly 690 million people are hungry and majority of them being in Asia while 10m people in one year and nearly 60m in five years are also adding in the category year by year. Looking beyond starvation, over two billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. The Covid-19 pandemic could further add 83-132 million food-insecure people worldwide. Globally, the prevalence of food insecurity at a moderate or severe level is higher among women than men representing gender gap in accessing food increased from 2018 to 2019.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) weredesigned in 2015 to address interactions between the economy, society, and the biosphere. SDG 2 and 14 are the two closely related goals target zero hunger with live below sea but there is a disconnect between the apparent progressshown by indicators and long-term sustainability as short-term gains in reducing hunger orpoverty might be undermined by poor ocean health,particularly in countries dependent on fisheries ordeveloping their blue economy. It is important to extend existing indicator assessments to integrate scenarios and social-ecological modeling with the aim to balance ideals with practicalities defined through a set of tangible targets and indicators ofprogress. If we develop a link between SDG 1 (End Poverty), SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG14 (Life below Water) to estimateeconomic dependence on theoceans than it is concluded with the fact that, there is a strong relation between the said factors and economic capacity of countries pursuing their blue economy as an alternate to traditional economy so, countries should be focused to develop capacity to fund and implement policies on ending poverty, SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG14 and food-security by utilizing fisheries because countries with developed blue economies gains huge revenues from the ocean activities accompanied by the significant contributions in GDP so, economic dependence of countries with developing or developed blue economies depends on healthy marine environments while fisheries and tourism arethe most reliant on healthy ecosystems and therefore are most relevant inthis context.
In countries like Pakistan where large population facing the issue of Undernourishment huge efforts are taken to target SDG 2 which is translated as a progress where 26m Pakistanis are undernourished or facing hunger in 2017-19 as compared to 33m in 2003-04. Some of the gains were however reversed by climate-related shocks, such as the floods of 2010-13, as well as recent challenges of drought, more floods, locusts and Covid-19 impacts and with all this to bear, we can expect a deterioration in Pakistan’s food security as we head towards the end of 2021. It is recommended to the policy makers that, we must utilize our blue economy to tackle the problem of zero hunger and undernourishment instead of exerting full pressure on traditional economic system either by announcement 5 year and 10 year plans that will target to make Pakistan Blue Maritime economy in coming future as blue development not only contributes in terms of revenue but contributes in socio economic development of the region through job creation, business opportunities, better living standards, lower poverty and prosperity of a common man so, Government should focus on sustainable blue growth to achieve the goals of SDG2 and SDG14 so, it’s time to follow Blues Clues…