Pope Francis attended the inaugural ceremony of the IFAD’s 42nd annual Governing Council meeting in Rome. It is a UN agency working to end poverty and hunger in “remote areas of developing countries.”
Before the pope's address, he was welcomed by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, and Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who expressed their solidarity in fighting against rural poverty.
The pope even listened to this music performance by violinist and activist Midori Goto. She is the messenger of peace for the United Nations.
During his address, the pope called for concrete solutions in solving the great poverty, pollution and lack of resources these rural people suffer. He encouraged the international community and those in positions of power to fulfill their responsibilities.
“It is paradoxical that a good part of more than 820 million people that suffer hunger and malnutrition in the world live in rural areas. This is paradoxical because they are dedicated to working as farmers and in food production.”
The pope also stressed the importance of promoting “science with a conscience.” He encouraged the use technology to help the poor and helping the local communities take control.
“It is necessary to make those affected by poverty the protagonists. They should not just be considered as mere recipients of aid, as this may end up generating dependencies. As when people become accustomed to being dependent they do not develop.” “New technologies should not be opposed to local cultures and traditional knowledge. They should complement them and act in synergy with them.”
As a gift to IFAD, the pope presented them this Argentinian sculpture of two hands tied together titled with a Latin phrase “Behold the man.” It is the phrase Pontius Pilate used when presenting Jesus after his scourging.