Pope Francis says “To fight hunger and forced migration, end war and arms trade.” 

“Ensuring everyone’s right to food and nourishment is an imperative we cannot ignore. It is a right to which there are no exceptions!” tweeted Pope Francis @Pontifex

Pope Francis issued a lengthy appeal to world leaders at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation to address the problem of world hunger not only through talk but concrete action. This can only be achieved by going to the root of the problem and introducing a new global mentality aimed at love rather than profit.

Food insecurity is linked to forced migration, Francis said, and the two can only be addressed “if we go to the root of the problem” – conflict and climate change. “Reflecting on the effects of food security on human mobility means returning to the commitment that gave rise to the FAO, in order to renew it,” Pope Francis said.

“What good is denouncing that millions of people are victims of hunger and malnutrition because of conflicts if one then does not effectively work for peace and disarmament?” the Pope asked.

“War and climate change lead to hunger; therefore, let’s avoid presenting it as if it were an incurable disease,” and instead implement laws, economic policies, lifestyle changes and attitudes that prevent the problems in the first place, he stated

The Pope pointed out that International law already had all the instruments and means in place to prevent and quickly end the conflicts that tear communities and countries apart, causing hunger and migration. “Goodwill and dialogue are needed to stop conflicts,” he said, “and it is necessary to fully commit to gradual and systematic disarmament” as well as stop the “terrible plague of arms trafficking.”

Referring to climate change, Francis said scientists know what needs to be done and international instruments – like the Paris Agreement – are already in place. He lamented that unfortunately “some are backing away” from the agreement, without specifying which nations. US President Donald Trump announced in June that the United States would withdraw from the accord as a way to help the US economy.

“We cannot resign ourselves to saying, ‘Someone else will do it,'” he said. Everyone is called to adopt and promote changes in lifestyle, in the way resources are used and in production and consumption – particularly when it comes to food, which is increasingly wasted. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that a third of food produced in the world each year is wasted, amounting to some 1.3 billion tons.

The Pope commented that simply “reducing the number of mouths to feed” as some say would not solve the problem of food shortages and global inequality, given the enormous waste and overconsumption in some areas of the world. Rather, he proposed “sharing” as a more effective strategy. “Cutting back is easy,” he said, but “sharing requires conversion and this is demanding.”

“We cannot act only if others are doing it or limit ourselves to having pity because pity doesn’t go beyond emergency aid,” Francis said. International organisations, leaders and individuals need to act out of real love and mercy toward others – particularly the most vulnerable – in order to create a world based on true justice and solidarity. He suggested a change in language used on the international scene which is focused on “the category of love, conjugated as gratuitousness, equal treatment, solidarity, a culture of gift, brotherhood and mercy.”

ACN Malta