Pope Francis' World Food Day Message "...feeding the hungry and safeguarding natural resources, so that we can all live in dignity, with respect and with love." FULL TEXT




[FAO, 16 October 2020]


To His Excellency
FAO Director-General

On the day Fao celebrates the 75th anniversary of its creation, I wish to greet you and all the members who make it up. Its mission is beautiful and important, because you work with the aim of defeating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

The theme proposed this year for World Food Day is significant: «Cultivating, feeding, preserving», and this «Together. Our actions are our future ». This theme underlines the need to act jointly and with firm will in order to generate initiatives that improve the environment around us and promote the hope of many people and many peoples.

Over 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 and accessible diets for all. It is about adopting innovative solutions that can transform the way we produce and consume food for the well-being of our communities and our planet, thus strengthening resilience and long-term sustainability.

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

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

For humanity, hunger is not only a tragedy but also a shame. It is caused, in large part, by an uneven distribution of the fruits of the earth, to which must be added the lack of investment in the agricultural sector, the consequences of climate change and the increase in conflicts in different areas of the planet. On the other hand, tons of food are discarded. Faced with this reality, we cannot remain numb or remain paralyzed. We are all responsible.

The current crisis shows us that concrete policies and actions are needed to eradicate hunger in the world. Sometimes dialectical or ideological discussions take us away from achieving this goal and allow our brothers and sisters to continue to die from lack of food. A courageous decision would be to set up a "World Fund" with the money used in weapons and other military spending in order to definitively eliminate hunger 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 their families who are forced to leave their home and country to seek a more dignified life (cf. Brothers all , n. 189 and 262 ). .

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

* from: L'Osservatore Romano , ed. daily, Year CLX, n. 246, 17/10/2020

Source: FULL TEXT Release from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation