Pope Benedict XVI on World Food Day Theme

The Vatican news service released the following statement from Pope Benedict XVI on this year’s World Food Day theme.

VATICAN CITY, 16 OCT 2008 (VIS) – Benedict XVI has written a Message to Jacques Diouf, director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for the occasion of World Food Day, an annual event organised by the FAO every 16 October.

Commenting upon the theme chosen for this year’s Day – “World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy” – the Holy Father writes that it “enables reflection upon achievements in the fight against hunger and upon the obstacles facing the FAO in the new challenges threatening the life of the human family”.

Benedict XVI highlights how “above all we must undertake to illuminate the reasons that prevent authentic respect for human dignity. With the means and resources the world has at its disposal, it is possible to supply sufficient nourishment and to satisfy the growing needs of everyone”, he says.

“The incorrect management of food resources caused by corruption in public life and increasing investment in arms and sophisticated military technology, to the detriment of people’s primary needs, has great importance”, he adds.

The Pope also highlights how “an effective campaign against hunger, in order to confront climate change or to allocate agricultural production primarily to food, calls for much more than mere scientific studies. It is necessary, above all, to rediscover the significance of human beings in their individual and community dimensions”.

“This reflects the need to build relations between peoples based on real and constant openness, to ensure that each country is able to satisfy the requirements of those in need, and to transmit the idea of relations founded on the interchange of reciprocal knowledge, values, rapid assistance and respect”.

Benedict XVI underscores the importance of “commitment to promoting effective social justice in relations among peoples”, so that the economy may be oriented towards the distribution of the goods of the earth, “to their sustainable use and to the fair division of their benefits”.

“One essential condition to increase levels of production and guarantee the identity of indigenous communities, as well as peace and security in the world”, he concludes, “is to guarantee access to land, favouring agricultural workers and promoting their rights”.

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