End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

Achieving healthy diets and ensuring agricultural systems remain productive and sustainable in the future are the key challenges associated with SDG 2 in the EU. Unlike many areas of the world, which face hunger, the EU’s central nutritional issue is obesity. This condition can harm health and well-being and have adverse impacts on health and social systems, governmental budgets and the productivity and growth of the economy. Furthermore, sustainable and productive agricultural systems are essential for ensuring a reliable supply of nutritious food now and in the future, especially in the face of challenges such as climate change and a rising population.

The Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy help farmers and fishermen to meet the food demand of more than 500 million Europeans and provide stable, sustainably produced and high quality food at affordable prices. Sustainable and resilient food production systems are a key factor in achieving this SDG. Implementing sustainable agricultural practices can help ensure future food security in a scenario of increasing demand and a changing climate.

Targets and Indicators:</a

Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF)

Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF) is a Commission training initiative covering food and feed law, animal health and welfare and plant health rules.

The main objectives of the initiative “Better Training for Safer Food” are the organisation and development of an EU training strategy with a view to:

  • Ensuring and maintaining a high level of consumer protection and of animal health, animal welfare and plant health;
  • To improve and harmonise official controls in EU countries and create the conditions for a level playing field for food businesses contributing to EU priority on jobs and growth;
  • To ensure safety of food imports from non-EU countries on the EU market, and ultimately to reducing risks for EU consumers and providing EU businesses with easier access to safe goods from non-EU countries;
  • To ensure a harmonisation of control procedures between EU and non-EU partners in order to guarantee a parallel competitive position of EU businesses with their non-EU counterparts;
  • To build confidence in the EU regulatory model with competent authorities of other international trade partners and pave the way for new food market opportunities and increased competitiveness for EU operators;
  • Ensuring fair trade with non-EU countries and in particular developing countries.

Strategy on nutrition, overweight and obesity-related health issues

In May 2007, The Commission established a coherent and comprehensive Community Strategy to address the issues of overweight and obesity, by adopting the White Paper A Strategy on Nutrition, Overweight, and Obesity-related health issues focussing on action that can be taken at local, regional, national and European levels to reduce the risks associated with poor nutrition and limited physical exercise, while addressing the issue of inequalities across member states. In particular, the strategy:

  • Encompasses a range of Commission policies that can be, and are being marshalled towards the purpose of improving nutrition and preventing overweight and obesity;
  • Encourages more action-oriented partnershipsacross the EU, involving key stakeholders working in the field of nutrition: the private sector, Member States, the European Commission and the WHO;
  • Sets out a series of challenges to relevant stakeholdersat all levels, notably the food industry, civil society and the media, by calling for widespread food reformulation schemes and responsible advertising;

Actions outlined in the strategy are based on sound scientific evidence showing relations between certain dietary and physical activity patterns and risk factors for certain chronic diseases. However, the strategy also outlines the need for further research in this area, and moreover underlines the central role of the Commission in facilitating partnerships and taking the lead in establishing a common framework for action.

Organic Farming

Organic farming is an agricultural method that aims to produce food using natural substances and processes. This means that organic farming tends to have a limited environmental impact as it encourages: a) the responsible use of energy and natural resources; b) the maintenance of biodiversity; c) preservation of regional ecological balances; d) enhancement of soil fertility; e) maintenance of water quality.

Sustainable agriculture and rural development – improving the access to land and natural resources

Fighting rural poverty in developing countries also requires ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources and reducing inequalities in the ownership of and access to productive assets (capital, rural infrastructure and land). Particular emphasis in this context lies on land tenure systems that provide sufficient security and flexibility.

The agricultural sector employs billions of people worldwide. It is a major user of the planet’s fresh water and of mineral resources including oil-based products. It transforms soils, landscapes, forests and biodiversity and is influencing climate change.

LIFE Climate Action

LIFE Climate Action supports projects in the development of innovative ways to respond to the challenges of climate change in Europe.

The Climate Action sub-programme will provide €864 million in co-financing for climate projects between 2014 and 2020. Its main objectives are to: a) Contribute to the shift towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy; b) Improve the development, implementation and enforcement of EU climate change policy and legislation; c) Support better environmental and climate change governance at all levels; d) Support the implementation of the 7th Environment Action Programme

LIFE Climate Action supports public authorities, non-governmental organisations and private actors, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, in implementing low-carbon and adaptation technologies and new methods and approaches.

The programme focuses on three priority areas:

Priority areaFocus
Climate change mitigationReducing greenhouse gas emissions
Climate change adaptationIncreasing resilience to climate change
Climate change governance and informationIncreasing awareness, communication, cooperation and dissemination on climate change mitigation

There are two programming periods: 2014-2017 and 2018-2020.

New Cohesion policy (2021-2027) – also see the EBLIDA report

The European Structural and Investment Funds 2021-2027: Funding Opportunities for LibrariesThe European Structural and Investment Funds 2021-2027 report
European Social Fund plus (ESF+) 2021-2027

For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission proposes to further strengthen the Union’s social dimension with a new and improved European Social Fund, the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and a more effective European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The ESF+ Regulation will integrate the current ESF, YEI, FEAD, EaSI and the EU Health programme, with ESF being complementary to other funds (such as the EGF, Erasmus, AMIF, ERDF, RSP, InvestEU).

Cohesion Fund

For a more detailed description, link to SDG 1. Summaries of the current operational programmes are found in the following link:

Rural libraries are community information centres disseminating the necessary information for farmers’ day to day problems. They promote community engagement and participation, also trying to encourage economic vitality within the community. They are, therefore, the natural prime movers of projects falling within the scope of SDG 2, especially in those regions where agriculture is still a significant source of income for the population.

When situated in cities, public libraries have often promoted seed banks for loan exchange. It is in rural areas, however, that ambitious projects implementing SDG 2 seem to take place. The Jagodina municipality (Republic of Serbia) is an area where half the population lives in villages and 70% of the economy is agricultural. In this region, the Agrolib project aims to fill the gap existing between the Serbian government online notification system about subsidies and incentives for farmers and the level of ICT literacy in the region. By revitalizing five rural libraries, the Agrolib project endowed them with modern technologies and advanced library services, aiming to link farmers with the State, farmers among themselves and farmers with potential sellers and buyers of agricultural products, machinery and services. Farmers’ visits to rural libraries boomed and changed the local cultural outlook. The Agrolib project was replicated in rural areas of Latvia, Lithuania and North Macedonia.

(Crnkovic, Vesna (2013). Access to Information and Knowledge: AgroLib Ja (Agricultural Libraries in Jagodina) (Serbia), W SIS Stocktaking: Success Stories 2013,

In Romania, through the Biblionet project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, public libraries saved $1.25 million and 230,000 working days for 116,000 farmers between 2011 and 2014. Furthermore, farmers received $205 million of subsidies. This impressive score was achieved thanks to an activity implemented by IREX Romania, which concluded a collaboration agreement with the Agency for Payments and Interventions in Agriculture (APIA), aimed at using the computers donated to the public libraries to fill in online the agricultural subsidy applications managed by APIA. (IFLA Library Map of the World)

This Chapter refers to the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2021-2027, and in particular to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund+ (ESF).

In order to make the most out of these Funds, first refer to the ESIF managing authorities, which are different in every Member State and are responsible for national operational programmes and policies. The list of national authorities, country after country, and region after region, is available at the following link,

In the Table(s) below, for each ESIF objective: Column 1 designates the ERDF or ESF+ specific objective. Column 2 and 3 set, respectively, the related outputs and results indicated by ESIF official documents. It can be easily inferred that European Commission criteria for evaluation are quite general and do not get into the detail of the programmes. It is up to Member States to set additional criteria for evaluation.

Finally, Column 4 lists examples of library projects set up to pursue ESIF objectives or to attain specific Sustainable Development Goals. ESIF-funded and SDG-oriented library projects are matched with specific ESIF 2021-2027 objectives and sub-objectives; what is shown in the table, however, is a simulation: under which presumed ESIF specific objective could SDG-oriented library projects have been funded, if they were to be presented within the ESIF 2021-2027 framework?

More detailed information on the Library Projects listed in Column 5 can be found in the Sustainable Development Goals and Libraries – First European Report.

ESIF Objective 5: Synoptic Table ERDF-SDG

The corresponding Main indicators normally used at EU level to evaluate activities)

Key trends in “Zero Hunger” in the European Union show the following evidence (Eurostat Report, pp. 55 and ss):

  • Obesity levels have fallen in the EU since 2014, but disparities between age and educational groups remain;
  • Labour productivity in European agriculture has increased, but investment in the future of farming lags behind;
  • Organic farming is on the rise across Europe, but nutrient use could be more efficient;
  • Excessive nutrient inputs are threatening the environment and water quality;
  • Soil erosion: a major threat, but there are signs of improvement across Europe;
  • High agricultural productivity can harm biodiversity.


Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Library Indicators enabling the evaluation of library performances and how they can match SDG indicators.

A report on Library indicators and SDGs has been released by the ELSA working Group: “Towards the implementation of SDG Indicators in European Libraries”

summarize Related projects on E-PANEMA

In the BibBl.a project the library development services of Region Jämtland Härjedalen have developed thematic toolkits (one handicraft toolkit, one digital toolkit, one book talk tool kit) which serve as content for local library workshops focused on citizens sharing knowledge, trying out new things, and talking about sustainability from their various points of view.
Coordinated by NGO C.I.S.P. (based in Rome, Italy), partnerships include 13 other NGOs from 12 different European countries, whose Ministries of Education have joined the project. In Romania, project implementor is the Association “European Academy”. The overall objective of the project is to enhance curricula in relation to SDGs in order to encourage global citizenship education and sustainable development.





Web content

Contact with the proposer of Toolkits for sustainable development events in local libraries project