Pope Francis with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences Pope Francis with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences  (Vatican Media)

Pope: Food access must be guaranteed during times of war

Pope Francis calls for increased global efforts to guarantee access to food, especially during times of war and the war in Ukraine, as he encourages participants in the Conference “Food and Humanitarian Crises: Science and Policies for their Prevention and Mitigation,” sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

It is a pressing challenge to relieve the sufferings of so many of our brothers and sisters who lack healthy eating and access to sufficient food, and to ensure war and crises, especially the war in Ukraine, do not prevent food from reaching those in need.

With this observation, Pope Francis encouraged the efforts of participants in the Conference “Food and Humanitarian Crises: Science and Policies for their Prevention and Mitigation” sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

The two-day conference concludes on Wednesday in the Vatican's Casina Pio IV, the Academy's headquarters located in the Vatican Gardens.

War in Ukraine

In his remarks, the Pope underscored the importance of the conference, stressing its timeliness, not only for academic discussion, but also "one that calls for farsighted leadership and practical policies, in order to relieve the sufferings of so many of our brothers and sisters who lack healthy eating and access to sufficient food." 

“This challenge is a pressing one, as all too often situations marked by natural disasters, as well as by armed conflict – I think especially of the war in Ukraine – political or economic corruption and exploitation of the earth, our common home, hinder food production, undermine the resilience of agricultural systems and dangerously threaten the nutritional supply of entire populations.”

Decline in fraternal solidarity

At the same time, the Pope observed, various crises have been worsened by the long-lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, while "we witness the decline of fraternal solidarity, brought about by, among other things, the selfish demands inherent in some current economic models."

In this perspective, he said, we need to become more aware that everything is closely interrelated, and realize that a crisis can also become an opportunity to learn from past mistakes. 

The Pope expressed his hope that their conference will "help all of us to emerge better from the crises we currently face," not only by focusing on technical solutions, but "above all by recalling how essential it is to develop an attitude of universal solidarity grounded in fraternity, love, and mutual understanding."  

Church's support

The Church, the Pope said, continues to proclaim that Jesus’ message of love of God and neighbour and sharing with our brothers and sisters is fundamental.

"The Church wholeheartedly supports and encourages your efforts," he said, "together with those of all who are working not only to feed others or respond to crises, but also to promote an integral human development, justice among peoples and international solidarity, thus strengthening the common good of society."

The Holy Father voiced his gratitude for their valuable service in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and assured them of his prayers that their work will "bear fruit in helping to address the numerous problems which result from food and other humanitarian crises." 

Pope Francis concluded by invoking upon those present the abundant blessings of Almighty God, and asking them to pray for him.

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10 May 2023, 11:18