Here are highlights from Pope Francis’ recent speech at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome for World Food Day:
The current situation demands greater responsibility on all levels, not only to guarantee the necessary production or equitable distribution of the fruits of the earth – this duty is taken for granted – but above all to guarantee the right of all human beings to be nourished according to their own needs, also participating in decisions that effect them and in the realisation of their own aspirations, without having to part from their loved ones.
Faced with an aim of such significance, the credibility of the entire international system is at stake. We know that cooperation is increasingly conditioned by partial commitments, which still now limit aid in emergencies. Even death by hunger or the abandonment of one’s own land is daily news, which risks being met with indifference. It is therefore urgent to find new paths, to transform the possibilities available to us into a guarantee that permits each person to look to the future with well-founded trust and not only with desire….
The relationship between hunger and migration can only be tackled if we go to the root of problem. In this regard, studies conducted by the United Nations, as well as many other civil society organisations, agree that there are two main obstacles to overcome: conflicts and climate change….
As for climate change, we see the consequences every day. Thanks to scientific knowledge, we know how the problems are to be faced; and the international community has drawn up the necessary legal instruments, such as the Paris Agreement, from which however some are withdrawing. There is a re-emergence of the nonchalance towards the delicate balances of ecosystems, the presumption of being able to manipulate and control the planet’s limited resources, and greed for profit. It is therefore necessary to make an effort for a concrete and active consensus if we wish to avoid more tragic effects, which will continue to impact upon the poorest and most helpless. We are called to propose a change in lifestyles, in the use of resources, in production criteria, including consumption that, with regard to food, involves growing losses and waste. We cannot resign ourselves to saying “someone else will take care of it”….
Let us listen to the cry of so many of our marginalized and excluded brothers: “I am hungry, I am a stranger, I am naked, sick, confined in a refugee camp”. It is a request for justice, not a plea or an emergency call. There is a need for broad and sincere dialogue at all levels, so that the best solutions can be found and a new relationship be nurtured between the various actors on the international scene, characterized by mutual responsibility, solidarity and communion.