Pope Francis supports the advances made in implementing Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods – and urges more progress, according to Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State. The Cardinal stressed that Pope Francis offers his prayerful support to the initiative.
Cardinal Parolin’s remarks came in a January 29, 2018, letter to the current Chairperson of the Republic of Guinea, Alpha Condé, of the Assembly of the African Union, on the occasion of the 30th African Union Summit that is taking place in Addis Ababa, Jan. 27-29, 2018. The Malabo Declaration, a result of the African Union’s 2014 summit, affirms the importance to agriculture in Africa and proposes steps for the continent to become self-sustaining in food by 2025.
The Cardinal admitted the challenges facing the “Commitment to Ending Hunger by 2025”. In particular, he noted the impact of climate change and the “increase of conflicts destabilizing large areas of the Continent”.
“We must ask ourselves, however, what role a lack of solidarity plays in this tragic situation, in which millions of lives are at stake,” he said. “The increasingly difficult situation in Africa requires a renewed focus and cooperation on behalf of those peoples who, for various reasons, cannot satisfy their basic human needs.”
Cardinal stressed that the “dignity of every human person rightly demands that barriers to the attainment of these needs be overcome through the determination of all people”. This requires just allocation of recourses and the close cooperation of the African Union and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
“The hungry can no longer wait, nor should they settle for inadequate action,” affirmed Cardinal Parolin. “Pope Francis encourages a return to the spirit of the Malabo Declaration, which inspired a vigorous call for renewed action to free African peoples from the menace of hunger through agricultural activity and food production in every country, and through efficient cooperation among all African Governments and intergovernmental organizations.”
The Cardinal cited the Holy Father’s recent visit to FAO headquarters during which he stressed the urgency of the food situation:
“The current situation demands greater responsibility on all levels, not only to guarantee the necessary production or equitable distribution of the fruits of the earth… but above all to guarantee the right of all human beings to be nourished according to their own needs,” the Holy Father explained. He noted that all people must be able to participate in decisions that affect them and be able to realize their aspirations without being apart from their loved ones.
“Faced with an aim of such significance, the credibility of the entire international system is at stake,” Pope Francis warned. He went on to say that the relationship between hunger and migration “can only be tackled if we go to the root of the problem.” And he suggested two primary obstacles: conflicts and climate change.