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Pope Francis Message for World Food Day 2020.10.16

Pope Francis: Message for World Food Day 16.10.2020

Pope Francis        16.10.20  Message for World Food Day 2020

Pope Francis the number of people fighting hunger and food insecurity is growing  16.10.20

To His Excellency, Mr QU DONGUY Director-General of FAO

On the day that the FAO (United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation) celebrates the 75th anniversary of its creation, I wish to greet you and all members. Your mission is beautiful and important, because you work with the goal of defeating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

This year's theme for World Food Day is significant: "Cultivate, nourish, preserve," and this "Together. Our actions are our future." This theme underlines the need to act together and with a firm will to generate initiatives that improve the environment around us and promote hope for many people and peoples.

Over the course of these 75 years, FAO has learned that it is not enough to produce food, but that it is also important to ensure that food systems are sustainable and offer healthy diets that are accessible to all. It's a question of adopting innovative solutions that can transform the way we produce and consume food for the well-being of our communities and our planet, thereby strengthening the capacity for recovery and long-term sustainability.

So in this period of great difficulty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is even more important to support initiatives implemented by organisations such as the FAO, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in order to promote sustainable and diversified agriculture, support small farming communities and cooperate in the rural development of the poorest countries.

We are aware that this challenge must be met in an age that is full of contradictions: on the one hand we are witnessing unprecedented progress in the different fields of science; on the other hand, the world is facing multiple humanitarian crises. Unfortunately, we note that, according to the most recent statistics of the FAO , despite the efforts made in recent decades, the number of people fighting hunger and food insecurity is growing, and the current pandemic will increase these figures even more.

Hunger is not only a tragedy for humanity, it is also shameful. It is caused, in large part, by an unequal distribution of the fruits of the earth, in addition to the lack of investment in agriculture, the consequences of climate change and the increase in conflicts in different parts of the planet. On the other hand, tons of food are discarded. Faced with this reality, we cannot remain insensitive or be paralyzed. We are all responsible.

The current crisis shows us that we need concrete policies and actions to eradicate hunger in the world. Sometimes dialectical or ideological discussions distance us from achieving this goal and we allow our brothers and sisters continue to die from lack of food. A courageous decision would be to set up 'a world fund' with the money used in arms and other military expenditure in order to eliminate hunger once and for all and contribute to the development of the poorest countries. In this way many wars would be avoided and the emigration of many of our brothers and sisters and their families who are forced to abandon their homes and countries to seek a more dignified life (cf. Brothers all, Nos. 189 and 262).

Mr. Director-General, in expressing my hope that the FAO's work will become more and more incisive and more fruitful, I invoke God's Blessing on you and on all those who cooperate in this fundamental mission of cultivating the land, feeding the hungry and safeguarding natural resources, so that we can all live with dignity, with respect and with love. Thank you.