Pope Francis says "I pray to God that no one is left behind, that everyone can meet their basic needs." FULL TEXT to UN Food Pre-Summit




[ROME, JULY 26, 2021]


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I cordially greet all those who participate in this important meeting, which once again highlights how one of our greatest current challenges is to overcome hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in the era of COVID-19.

This pandemic has confronted us with systemic injustices that undermine our unity as a human family. Our poorest brothers and sisters, and the Earth, our Common House that "cries out for the damage we cause it due to the irresponsible use and abuse of the goods that God has placed in it" [1] , demand a radical change.

We develop new technologies with which we can increase the planet's capacity to bear fruit, and yet we continue to exploit nature to the point of sterilizing it [2] , thus expanding not only external deserts but also internal spiritual deserts [3] . We produce enough food for everyone, but many are left without their daily bread. This "constitutes a true scandal" [4] , a crime that violates basic human rights. Therefore, it is everyone's duty to root out this injustice [5]  through concrete actions and good practices, and through bold local and international policies. 

In this perspective, the careful and correct transformation of food systems plays an important role, which must be oriented so that they are capable of increasing resilience, strengthening local economies, improving nutrition, reducing food waste, providing accessible healthy diets. for all, to be environmentally sustainable and respectful of local cultures.

If we want to guarantee the fundamental right to an adequate standard of living [6]  and fulfill our commitments to achieve the Zero Hunger goal [7] , it is not enough to produce food. It takes a new mindset and a new holistic approach [8] and designing food systems that protect the Earth and keep the dignity of the human person at the center; that guarantee sufficient food globally and promote decent work locally; and that they feed the world today, without compromising the future.

It is essential to recover the centrality of the rural sector, on which the satisfaction of many basic human needs depends, and it is urgent that the agricultural sector regain a priority role in the political and economic decision-making process, aimed at delineating the framework of the process of Post-pandemic "reboot" being built. In this process, small farmers and agricultural families must be considered privileged actors. Their traditional knowledge should not be overlooked or ignored, while their direct involvement enables them to better understand their real needs and priorities. It is important to facilitate the access of small farmers and family farming to the services necessary for the production, marketing and use of agricultural resources.[9] . This recognition must be accompanied by policies and initiatives that fully meet the needs of rural women, promote youth employment and improve the work of farmers in the poorest and most remote areas.

We are aware that individual, closed and conflicting economic interests —but powerful— [10]  prevent us from designing a food system that responds to the values ​​of the Common Good, solidarity and the “culture of encounter”. If we want to maintain a fruitful multilateralism [11] and a food system based on responsibility, justice, peace and the unity of the human family is paramount [12] .

The crisis we are currently facing is actually a unique opportunity for authentic, bold and courageous dialogues [13] , addressing the roots of our unjust food system.

Throughout this meeting, we have the responsibility of realizing the dream of a world where bread, water, medicine and work flow in abundance and reach the neediest first. The Holy See and the Catholic Church will serve this noble purpose, offering their contribution, joining forces and wills, actions and wise decisions.

I pray to God that no one is left behind, that everyone can meet their basic needs. May this meeting for the regeneration of food systems put us on the way to build a peaceful and prosperous society, and sow seeds of peace that allow us to walk in authentic brotherhood [14] .

From the Vatican, July 26, 2021



[1]  Pope Francis, 2015, Laudato Si - On Caring for Our Common Home , 2.

[2]  Cf. Paul VI, 1971, Octogesima Advenien s , 21.

[3]  Benedict XVI, 2005, Homily at the solemn beginning of the Petrine ministry , 710.

[4] Fratelli Tutti - On Fraternity and Social Friendship , 189.

[5]  Cf. Pope Francis, 2017, Message of the Holy Father Francis to the Participants in the 40th Conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) .

[6]  General Assembly of the United Nations, 1948, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights .

[7]  United Nations General Assembly, 2015, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development .

[8]  Pope Francis,2019, Message of the Holy Father Francis for the World Food Day 2019 .

[9] Pope Francis,2019, Message of the Holy Father Francis for the World Food Day 2019 .

[10] Cf. Fratelli Tutti - On Fraternity and Social Friendship , 12, 16, 29, 45, 52.

[11]  Cf. Fratelli Tutti - On Fraternity and Social Friendship , 174.

[12]  Pope Francis,2015, Video Message of the Holy Father Francisco on the occasion of the 75th General Assembly of the United Nations .

[13]  Cf. Fratelli Tutti - On Fraternity and Social Friendship , 201-203.

[14]  Cf. Fratelli Tutti - On Fraternity and Social Friendship , 2.