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Shedding light on the evidence blind spots confounding the multiple objectives of SDG 2

Abstract

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 consists of five targets ranging from the eradication of hunger and malnutrition to doubling productivity of small-scale farmers and ensuring sustainable and resilient food production systems. Trade-offs and synergies arise between strategies to achieve any one of these targets, which complicates the use of evidence to guide policies and investments since most analyses focus solely on one objective. This gives rise to ‘blind spots’ in the evidence base, where acting to achieve one objective can have strong impacts on achieving others, hampering attempts to establish a systematic approach to attaining the multiple objectives of SDG 2. Here, we focus on three key blind spots that arise from potential interactions between increasing agricultural productivity and enhancing the sustainability of food production systems, eradicating hunger and malnutrition, and increasing the resilience of food production systems to climate change. Incorporating the consideration of synergies and trade-offs into policy-making is also essential; however, there is relatively little evidence of this occurring in national policies to date.

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Acknowledgements

We thank J. Porciello and S. Murphy for insightful discussions on the framing of the paper and the Independent Science and Partnership Council of the CGIAR for supporting the early work underlying some analysis in the manuscript. This work was supported by the Ceres 2030 project.

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L.L. conceived the idea and led in writing the paper. R.D. and L.B. contributed analysis and text for sections of the paper. All authors contributed to the narrative and writing of the paper.

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Correspondence to Leslie Lipper.

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Lipper, L., DeFries, R. & Bizikova, L. Shedding light on the evidence blind spots confounding the multiple objectives of SDG 2. Nat. Plants 6, 1203–1210 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-020-00792-y

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