Seventeen sustainable development goals have been identified to be achieved by 2030. They are contained in the UN Agenda approved by the 193 UN member states. “Zero Hunger,” which is at the centre of an agreement signed in 2012 during a United Nations Conference in Rio de Janeiro, aims to free the world from hunger. In response to a request for collaboration sent by the United Nation’s agency, the young people and teenagers of the Focolare Movement decided to step onto the field alongside the FAO, in raising awareness among the generation that we hope will see world hunger defeated.
World hunger has been on the rise again for more than a decade. It was recently reported on by the Annual United Nations Report of food safety and nutrition in the world (2017). In 2016, around 815 million people (38 million more than the year before), that is, 11% of the world population, was not sufficiently nourished. Around 155 million children under the age of five are underdeveloped (too short for their age), while 52 million suffer from chronic hunger, which means that their weight is not adequate to their height.
At the same time, because of a lack of healthy nourishment, 600 million people (including 41 million children) suffer from obesity, which is another face of malnutrition. The Report identified armed conflicts as the main cause of the migrations and of the shocks linked to climate change, as several of the key factors of the re-escalation of hunger and the many forms of malnutrition. Freeing the world of hunger will require urgent measures and decisions in favour of more sustainable lifestyles – from the consumer society to a change of course in international politics. But first it requires a stronger awareness and change in personal relationships.
This is the message that the Focolare’s Teens for Unity and Youth for a United World have been spreading since last year along with several of their global-level projects: the need for study and becoming aware of the root causes of the problem; observing and monitoring the situation at the local level and involving as many young people, teenagers and associations as possible in: communicating and sharing experiences of working for the poor in their own local environments, for a more sober lifestyle, for dialogue, peace, the environment, welcoming immigrants, and, finally, their proposal to hold world-wide celebrations on the day chosen by the United Nations to be dedicated to the topic of nutrition (October 16).
#ZeroHunger is now a regular feature of the Teens Magazine, published by Città Nuova in collaboration with the New Families Association, United World Association and the New Humanity Movement. The 2018 March-April edition will be dedicate to this topic. “What a thrill for our delegation,” write the teenagers on the editorial board, “to go into the headquarters of the FAO in Rome. Let’s get started right now so that our generation will truly be the first #GenerationZeroHunger. Teens Magazine will continue to follow this fascinating worldwide project.”
The calendar shows April as the month for the publication of the Commitment Statement of the Teens for Unity, which was drawn up by teenagers from eleven countries. In May, the annual events for “United World Week” and “Run4Unity” will be entirely devoted to the topic. In June, a group of 600 children and teenagers (ages 9-12), attending an international congress of the Focolare Movement, will be the guests of the FAO for a morning of discussion and sharing on the topic. Finally, in the month of July, as part of the “United World Project” at Genfest 2018, a forum will be held on the theme #GenerationZeroHunger with the participation of the FAO.