Agriculture, Food Security and the Sustainable Development Goals: theory and practice in three development contexts

Juliana Dias Bernardes Gil, P. Reidsma, K.E. Giller, M.K. van Ittersum

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The pursuit of global food security and agricultural sustainability, both aims of the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG2), requires urgent and concerted action from developing and developed countries. This, in turn, depends on clear and universally applicable targets and indicators, as well as clear conceptual definitions. A growing number of initiatives related to the proposal of indicators for the SDGs have emerged over the past years. Although based on the same goals and often inclusive of the same SDG2-related topics (e.g. crop yields, health and nutrition), these proposals are quite discrepant concerning their length, level of detail, target region and priority actions. Concomitantly, the UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators conducted a public consultation process for developing an official indicator framework for the SDGs; however, inconsistencies remain, data to monitor the fulfillment of some indicators is unavailable and a uncertainty exists about how to operationalize them. We seek to contribute to the design of indicators and their operationalization by reviewing UN-proposed SDG2 indicators and suggesting improvements where needed. Three case studies (i.e. Netherlands, Brazil and Nigeria) support this exercise by illustrating the challenges faced across different development contexts and the need for relative, adaptable indicators. Particularly when it comes to the SDGs, case studies help us think practically about each country's demands and opportunities. Our study has two main parts. The first provides an overview of SDG2 and revises the list of indicators recommended by the UN. It answers whether the indicators are globally relevant, conceptually clear and quantifiable. The second is focused on the analysis of agriculture and food security in Nigeria, Brazil and the Netherlands and the application of the revised indicators in each of them. Synergies and tradeoffs involved in the accomplishment of SDG2 are discussed at the end, together with country-specific policy recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2017
Event3rd International Conference on Global Food Security Conference - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 3 Dec 20176 Dec 2017


Conference3rd International Conference on Global Food Security Conference
CountrySouth Africa
CityCape Town


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