Pope Francis Urges Fight Against Hunger

The Holy Father’s Message on the Occasion of the World Food Day Ceremony

Pope Francis Fight Against Hunger

Pope Francis considers that the fight against hunger calls for “overcoming the market’s cold logic, focused avidly on mere economic profit and the reduction of foods to one more merchandise, and reinforcing the logic of solidarity.”

The Holy Father sent a Message addressed to the Director-General of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Qu Dongyu, on the occasion of the World Food Day ceremony, held today, October 15, 2021, in Rome, Italy.

Joint Action

 The Pope highlighted the fact that the annual celebration of World Food Day “confronts us with one of the major challenges of humanity: to overcome hunger once and for all is an ambitious aim, and how the United Nations Summit on Food Systems, held in New York last September 23, “made manifest the urgency to adopt innovative solutions that can transform the way we produce and consume foods for the wellbeing of people and of the planet.”

On the theme proposed by FAO this year (“Our Actions Are Our Future: Better Production, Better Nutrition, Better Environment, and Better Life”), the Pope  stressed, “the need for joint action so that all have access to diets that guarantee the greatest environmental sustainability and, in addition, are adequate and at an accessible price.”

On the other hand, Pope Francis reminds that at present “we are witnessing a genuine paradox in regard to access to foods,” as, on one hand, “more than three billion  people do not have access to a nutritious diet” and, on the other, “almost two billion suffer overweight or obesity due to bad food and a sedentary lifestyle.” “If we do not want to endanger the health of our planet and of our people, we must foster active participation in change at all levels and reorganize the foods systems as a whole,” he says.

Four Action Ambits

The Pope then referred to four ambits in which it is urgent to act: “in the field, in the sea, in the table  and in the reduction of food losses and waste.” “Our lifestyles and daily consumption practices, influence the global and environmental dynamic, however, if we aspire to a real change, we must urge producers and consumers to make ethical and sustainable decisions and make the young generations conscious of the important role they have to make a world without hunger a reality.”

The pandemic also offers “the opportunity to change course and invest in a global food system that can address honestly and responsibly future crises.” In this connection, “the valuable contribution of small producers is crucial, facilitating access to innovation that, applied in the agri-food sector, can reinforce the resistance to climate change, increase food production and support those that work in the food value chain.”

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The Holy Father’s Message

 MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

FOR WORLD FOOD DAY 2021

To His Excellency Qu Dongyu

Director-General of FAO

Excellency:

The annual celebration of World Food Day confronts us with one of the major challenges of humanity: to overcome hunger once and for all is an ambitious aim. The United Nations Summit on Food Systems, held in New York last September 23, made manifest the urgency to adopt innovative solutions that can transform the way in which we produce and consume foods for the wellbeing of people and of the planet. This is unpostponable to accelerate the post-pandemic recovery, to combat food insecurity, and advance towards the achievement of all the Objectives of the 2030 Agenda.

The theme suggested by FAO this year: “Our Actions Are Our Future: Better Production, Better Nutrition, Better Environment, and Better Life,” stresses the need of a joint action so that all have access to diets that guarantee the greatest environmental sustainability and, in addition, are adequate and at an accessible price. Each one of us has a function to carry out in the transformation of the food systems for the benefit of people and of the planet, and “all of us can collaborate [. . . ] for the care of creation, each one from his culture, his experience, his initiatives, and his capacities” (Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, 14).

At present we are witnessing a genuine paradox in regard to access to foods: on one hand, more than three billion people do not have access to a nutritious diet, while on the other hand, almost two billion suffer from overweight or obesity due to bad food and a sedentary lifestyle. If we do not want to endanger the health of our planet and of all our people, we must foster active participation in change at all levels and reorganize the food systems as a whole.

I would like to point out four ambits in which it is urgent to act: in the field, in the sea, in the table and in the reduction of losses and food waste. Our lifestyles and daily consumption practices influence the global and environmental dynamic, however, if we aspire to real change, we must urge producers and consumers to make ethical and sustainable decisions, and to make the younger generation conscious of the important role they have to make a world without hunger a reality. Each one of us can make his contribution to this noble cause, beginning with our daily life and the simplest gestures. To know our Common Home, to protect it, and to be conscious of their importance is the first step to be guardians and promoters of the environment.

The pandemic gives us the opportunity to change course and to invest in a global food system that can address honestly and responsibly future crises. In this connection, the valuable contribution of small producers is crucial, facilitating their access to innovation that, applied to the agri-food sector, can reinforce resistance to climate change, increase food production and support those working in the food value chain.

The fight against hunger calls for overcoming the market’s cold logic, focused avidly on mere economic profit and the reduction of foods to one more merchandise, and to reinforce the logic of solidarity.

Mister Director-General, the Holy See, and the Catholic Church walk with FAO and with those other entities and people that give the best of themselves so that no human being sees his fundamental rights belittled or overlooked. May those that sow seeds of hope and concord feel the backing of my prayer, imploring that their initiatives and projects be ever more fruitful and successful. With these sentiments, I invoke upon you and all those that with tenacity and generosity fight misery and hunger in the world, the blessing of Almighty God.

Vatican, October 15, 2021

Francis

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester