November 17, 2009.
Pope Benedict XVI brought a spiritual and moral dimension to the opening session of the World Summit on Food Security.
While addressing the summit hosted by the U.N Food and Agriculture Organization he took a page from his latest encyclical Caritas in Veritate. Benedict XVI“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.”
According to FAO, 1 out of 6 people suffer from hunger.
On the first day of the three day conference the Pope along with other world leaders called for wealthy countries to invest in agriculture, open access to international markets for poorer economies and cautioned against forms of aid that stem from greed. Benedict XVI“Statistics bear witness to the dramatic growth in the number of people suffering from hunger made worse by the rise in price of foodstuffs, the reduction in economic resources available to the poorest peoples, and their limited access to the markets and to food.”
FAO is urging wealthy governments to invest 44 billion dollars a year in agricultural aid. Banki-Moon
U.N Secretary-General “We need the support from the international community, without funding we don’t be able to do that.”
Benedict XVI“Hunger is the most cruel and concrete sign of poverty, Opulence and waster are no longer acceptable when the tragedy of hunger is assuming even greater proportions.”
More than 200 delegates from around the world attended the first day of the summit including Libyan leader Muammar EL-Gheddafi. Along with President Lula of Brazil who was handed a prestigious award for being at the top of the list of countries for successfully reducing hunger over the past 7 years.
Meanwhile Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was the only G8 leader present.
Five of the pope’s predecessors have addressed similar summits hosted by FAO. This was Benedict XVI’s first time.