On “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg,” Paul Newnham, Director of the SDG2 Advocacy Hub (SDG2 Hub), talks about how the organization offers a new game plan—a way of working that engages the largest group of diverse actors to work together to achieve the United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2). SDG 2 is a global call to action to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. Paul tells Food Tank that he is hopeful about the U.N.’s 17 SDGs outlined in 2015, “I’m excited they created this framework that helps rally, direct, and focus the various efforts around the world. Whether people know about them or not, people are contributing to them if they are helping to address many of the issues we face.”
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SDG2 Hub is a collaboration of grassroots organizations, big philanthropy, the private sector, and U.N. agencies working in the food and agriculture space. According to Paul, sometimes these diverse actors working on interlocking issues have difficulty finding common ground for joint action and space for collaboration. The SDG2 Hub is helping to “break down these silos,” says Paul. With its platform and varied network, the organization creates a space for open dialogue and knowledge sharing that, for example, invites groups that generally only work on nutrition to join conversations with farming and sustainability groups to facilitate broader SDG2 action.
Similarly, the SDG2 Hub helps build bridges between stakeholders working on the same issues but who aren’t natural partners, such as grassroots organizations and large corporations, and creates a space for them to come together for what can be uncomfortable but necessary conversations. “We try to start with what we are trying to change, and then we focus on what each of the players brings to that change rather than what we disagree on,” explains Paul. Paul believes these encounters are uncomfortable but necessary.
Paul also discusses the Chefs’ Manifesto, a chef-led initiative and network bringing chefs into sustainable development discussions and highlighting how chefs can in their kitchens, restaurants, and communities contribute to the SDGs. For example, to help achieve SDG2.5 on safeguarding the world’s biodiversity, Paul explains, “chefs can play a really key role by using and sourcing new ingredients.”