Pope: Slogans are not enough to eliminate hunger in the world

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Pope: Slogans are not enough to eliminate hunger in the world

Iacopo Scaramuzzi/ lastampa.it

“Hunger has no present or future. Only the past”: a phrase that must not be a “slogan but a truth”. The Pope said so by inaugurating the IFAD governing council at the meeting that took place at the headquarters of the United Nations agency for food and agriculture (FAO). Francis - who next October convened a Synod on the Amazon in the Vatican - then met a delegation of indigenous peoples from Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific.

“My presence is intended to bring here the desires and needs of the multitude of our brothers who suffer in the world”, said the Pontiff of the encyclical Laudato si’ in Spanish. “ I wish we could look at their faces without blushing, because finally their appeal had been heard and their concerns addressed” continued Francis, recalling their “precarious” living conditions: “ the air is contaminated, natural resources are depleted, the rivers polluted, the soils acidified; they do not have enough water for themselves or their crops; their sanitary infrastructures are very deficient, their houses scarce and defective”.

Francis encouraged the joint commitment of the “international community, civil society and those who possess resources “, because “ Responsibilities cannot be evaded, passed from one to another, but rather are to be assumed so as to offer concrete and real solutions”, urging the participants to commit themselves so that the challenging phrase “ Hunger has no present or future. Only past. Only the past” is “not a slogan but a truth”.

The Pope advocated “rural development” to combat hunger and poverty, emphasizing the need to “ensure that each person and each community may realize their own capacities fully, thus living a human life worthy of that name”, and calling for peoples and communities to be “responsible architects for their own production and progress,” because “once a people grows accustomed to dependency, it does not develop”. The Pope then praised the greater “decentralization” recently adopted by Ifad (”promoting south-south cooperation, diversifying funding sources and modes of action, and promoting action that is based on the evidence and at the same time generates knowledge), encouraging “to continue on this path, which is humble, but is the right one. A path that should always result in the improvement of the living conditions of the most needy people”.

At the FAO headquarters, the Pope wanted to meet with a representative of indigenous peoples. Francis greeted one by one the 38 delegates from 31 different indigenous peoples from America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific area, reported the interim director of the Vatican Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, and some donated him some handcrafted stoles craft. The International Forum of Indigenous Peoples of the Ifad, established in 2011, is a platform for permanent dialogue between representatives of indigenous peoples, the UN fund and international governments. This year the Forum focuses on promoting the use of indigenous peoples’ knowledge to develop climate resilience and facilitate sustainable development.

The Pope, who arrived at 9:00 a.m. at FAO, returned to the Vatican at the end of the morning after having also met the Ifad employees, thanking them for their work “against the tide” with respect to the hunger and misery widespread in the world. Before taking the floor at the Board of Governors, Francis listened to the introductory speeches of the President of the Fund, Togolese Gilbert Houngbo, the Director General of the FAO, Brazilian José Graziano da Silva, and Council President Giuseppe Conte, who thanked the Pope for his “closeness to the Roman agencies of the United Nations” and their commitment to fighting hunger in the world and mentioned in his speech the guarantee of the three “t” often mentioned by the Pope, tierra, trabajo and techo (land, work and home).

Pope Francis also listened to the performance of the violinist Midori, “messenger of peace” for the UN organization. The Pope left as a gift a sculpture by the Argentine artist Norma D’Ippolito, entitled “Ecce Homo”, which depicts the tied hands of a man.

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 21:33
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