justice issues food security-Pope Benedict

Excerpts from Pope Benedict XVI on Food Security –  Address to World Food Summit November 2009.

The problem of food insecurity needs to be addressed within a long-term perspective, eliminating the structural causes that give rise to it and promoting the agricultural development of poorer countries.  This development must involve local communities in the choices and decisions that affect the use of agricultural land and every country has the right to define its own economic model, taking steps to secure its freedom to choose its own objectives.  

To conquer hunger it is essential to start redefining the concepts and principles that have hitherto governed international relations.  The response must be sought not in the technical aspects of cooperation, but in the principles that lie behind it: only in the name of common membership of the worldwide human family can every people and therefore every country be asked to practise solidarity and to shoulder the burden of concrete responsibilities in meeting the needs of others…

It is necessary to separate the rules of international trade from the logic of profit viewed as an end in itself ….. Nor must the fundamental rights of the individual be forgotten, which include, of course, the right to sufficient, healthy and nutritious food, and likewise water. It is necessary, then, to cultivate “a public conscience that considers food and access to water as universal rights of all human beings, without distinction or discrimination” (Caritas in Veritate, 27).

 Methods of food production likewise demand attentive analysis of the relationship between development and protection of the environment. The desire to possess and to exploit the resources of the planet in an excessive and disordered manner is the primary cause of all environmental degradation….What is needed is a change in the lifestyles of individuals and communities, in habits of consumption and in perceptions of what is genuinely needed.  

Hunger is the most cruel and concrete sign of poverty. Opulence and waste are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming ever greater proportions.

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