The Holy See's Permanent Observer at the United Nations has said that eliminating hunger is more than a high priority, but is rather a moral imperative.
Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Permanent Observer at the U.N., spoke at the 69th session of the U.N. General Assembly on 28 October on the theme of “Agriculture Development, Food Security and Nutrition”.
Referring to U.N. statistics, the Vatican official pointed out that there has been a 17 percent decrease in the number of people suffering from chronic hunger since 1990. However, he decried that it "also means that we still have almost 850 million people suffering from acute hunger."
"The number is already shocking in itself, but what must shock us even more is the fact that behind those numbers are real people, with their fundamental dignity and rights."
Thus, he said, "eradicating hunger is not only a high priority development goal; it is a moral imperative.”
Making an observation, he said, “It is not for lack of food in the world that they suffer acute hunger" as "the current levels of world food production are sufficient to feed everyone."
Rather, he said, "The problem lies elsewhere," such as in the "lack of conservation technologies among smallholder producers, in weak or absent government support to incentivize the commercialization of products, or in the lack of infrastructure for better food distribution and marketing.”
Making a plea, he called on the whole “United Nations family” to renew its efforts to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in the world, "putting it at the forefront of its collective efforts."
For this reason, he said, “the Holy See welcomes the incorporation of food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture as components of the sustainable development goals."
“The theme of this year's World Food Day tells us that the family is key in the fight to end hunger," the nuncio highlighted.
Recognizing the family as such, he said, must be accompanied "by policies and initiatives that really respond to the needs of farming families and communities.”
Reminding those present that an international conference on nutrition in will be held in Rome next month, aiming to bring together “government leaders, other top-level policy-makers and representatives of intergovernmental organizations and civil society, to take stock of progress made in improving nutrition and to seek new ways to boost national and global efforts to improve health,” Archbishop Auza concluded.
On ZENIT's Web page: