Hunger Assailed as Denial of a Fundamental Right

Vatican Aide Addresses Food Conference

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ROME, DEC. 5, 2003 ( Hunger is an obvious denial of a fundamental human right, the Holy See told a conference of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Monsignor Renato Volante, permanent observer of the Holy See before the FAO, made that point Wednesday when addressing the 32nd Session of the FAO conference, being held in Rome until Dec. 10.

The monsignor praised the work carried out by FAO in its field.

He said that his delegation wants «to encourage the stakeholders’ commitment — governments, organizations of civil society and individuals — and to support the efforts made to date for an appropriate and sustainable management of the natural resources of Creation, in view of that auspicious food security which should be made up to the dignity of human beings, in every part of our planet,» the Vatican Information Service reported.

Referring to the 1996 World Food Summit in which member states of FAO committed to reduce the figure of 800 million hungry people in half by the year 2015, Monsignor Volante said: «Hunger and malnutrition not only prevent people from full development, but also constitute an evident denial of their fundamental rights, those rights stated and asserted in various international instruments and declarations.»

«Only authentic solidarity, achieved through proportional contributions to budget resources, will make it possible to look ahead confidently,» he added.

The monsignor observed that food and agricultural resources mainly determine the productive capacity of countries and generate jobs and development. He emphasized that the Holy See «heartily wishes, because of the global vision of attention that the Church pays to the poorest and the weakest, that it would be possible to provide, in adequate form, assistance to all artisanal practices which are in fact the basic economic reality for most developing countries.»

Monsignor Volante concluded by reminding those present of the «Final Declaration: International Alliance Against Hunger,» adopted in 2002 at the end of the «World Food Summit — Five Years Later.»

He said that the struggle against hunger depends on willingness and political responsibility. He added that the «concept of responsibility is present in the different aspects of the sectors of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, keeping particularly in mind questions connected with environment and management of resources.»

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