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World Food Day 2017, FAO © L'Osservatore Romano

Hunger in the World: ‘We Can All Do Something’

Monsignor Arellano Deplores the ‘Cruel’ Inequality between Countries

“We can all do something to fight against hunger,” said to “Vatican News” Monsignor Fernando Chica Arellano, the Vatican’s Permanent Observer at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, commenting on the UN’s Report on hunger in the world, which was presented in New York on July 15, 2019. Monsignor Arellano lamented the “cruel” inequality between countries.

Hunger in the world has increased for the third consecutive year. In 2018, more than 820 million people lacked food, as opposed to 811 million in 2017; one infant out of seven is underweight at birth (20.5 million). 148.9 million children younger than five suffer from chronic malnutrition and 49.5 million suffer from acute malnutrition. Moreover, food insecurity concerns more women than men. Hunger increases where economic growth is delayed, notes the report, which also highlights the increase of obesity in the world, in particular in children.

For Monsignor Arellano, “this Report tells us that humanity has not done its duty sufficiently for our poorest brothers. Hunger continues to increase.” Now, if humanity doesn’t attain the objective of durable development “Zero Hunger,” “none of the other objectives of durable development of the 2030 Agenda can be attained.”

“We must work more to do our duty better as International Community and especially as persons, including at the individual level,” added the Holy See’s Representative, who is disturbed by the numbers. “We speak of Asia: 513.9 million hungry people. We speak of Africa: 256.1 million people and, in Latin America, 42.5 million.”

“The Report not only highlights the cruelty of hunger, but also another aspect: obesity. There are 672 million obese adults in the world, that is, 13%, hence one person out of eight. The problem is not only undernourishment but also malnutrition,” he continued. And Monsignor Arellano stressed: “The people behind these numbers don’t have a serene present or a luminous future. The International Community must do more. There is a lack of will, especially that of doing away with the causes due to man, such as conflicts, the economic crisis, climate change.”

What can one do to fight against hunger at the individual level? “First of all, not waste food; then, not pass by a poor person closing one’s eyes or not listening to the cry of the hungry,” explained the Permanent Observer.

As for the International Community, it “must grow in solidarity, because solidarity, investment in peace, is a way of fighting against hunger.” “A more just distribution” is necessary of food resources, because while certain countries have food surpluses, in Africa especially, there are whole regions where it’s lacking. This inequality is truly cruel,” concluded Monsignor Arellano.

About Anne Kurian

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