Pope Francis encourages unity in the fight against world hunger

Vatican City, Jun 27, 2019 / 06:07 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis said Thursday that world hunger must be addressed by all nations and encouraged the cooperation of individuals, governments, and businesses.

The pope spoke at the 41st General Conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), based in Rome.

Among the estimated 500 participants, those in attendance included delegates from different nations, including outgoing FAO director general, José Graziano da Silva, and his successor, Qu Dongyu.

In his speech, the pope highlighted the two goals of the organization’s 2030 agenda – “no poverty” and “zero hunger.”

He said that while there have been improvements in global access to food and drinkable water in recent decades, there are still many challenges to face. To completely tackle world hunger, the pope said, the roots of the problem must be addressed.

“The origin of this tragedy lies above all in a failure of compassion, the lack of interest on the part of many and a scant social and political will to honour international obligations,” Francis said.

He stressed that the issue of food security involves every nation, not just those in poverty. Environmental instability continues to affect food quantity in many areas, he noted, while some nations are also affected by high migration rates.

“The increased numbers of refugees throughout the world in recent years has shown us that one country’s problem is a problem of the entire human family,” he said.

The pope urged those present to reduce food and water waste. He challenged them to invest in educational programs, which spread awareness and inspire greater social responsibility. He also encouraged greater agricultural development in vulnerable regions, through the advancement of technology and solidarity policies.

“FAO and other international organizations are appropriate actors to coordinate necessary and decisive measures aimed at ensuring that all, particularly the poorest, have the access to basic goods,” he said.

“Joint efforts by all will realize the goals and commitments already undertaken, through programmes and policies capable of helping local populations to grow in a sense of responsibility for their countries, communities and, ultimately, their own lives.”

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