By Robin Gomes
The Holy See is urging more investment in sustainable agriculture to solve the grave problems of migration, hunger and poverty in the world, saying sustainable agriculture creates adequate infrastructures and encourages the use of innovative technologies that enhance local resources.
The call was made on Wednesday Monsignor Fernando Chica Arellano, the Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations Organizations in Rome.
Addressing a conference on migration, agriculture and rural development during the 41st session of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), he recalled the pain and bitterness of migrants forced to abandon their lands and homes to escape poverty, conflict, persecution, the harmful effects of climate change and natural disasters.
The Holy See representative lamented that after a few years of encouraging data initially, the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of cutting down hunger appears far from being achieved, with the number of hungry people increasing around the world.
Pointing to the December 2018 Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), Msgr. Arellano called for working together to help communities and individuals live in safety and dignity in their own countries.
At the same time, he voiced the appeal of Pope Francis calling on all to welcome, protect, promote and integrate those who come daily from developing countries in search of a more dignified and peaceful existence. In this regard, the Vatican diplomat drew attention to the worrying phenomenon of immigrants who end up as victims of illegal employment, forced to accept inhumane working conditions that offend their dignity.
Msgr. Arellano drew attention to the movement of migrants within countries, often from rural to urban areas. Lacking adequate skills, they are caught up in the vicious circle of poverty. Hence the importance of rural development, which in turn can increase the food security of cities.
Youth and women
In this regard, Msgr. Arellano underscored the importance of promoting policies aimed at developing youth entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector, such as by facilitating their access to land, security and protection of ownership of their land and access to credit and local markets.
The Vatican representative appealed to FAO to formulate policies that support and sustain rural families so that they can maintain their identities as transmitters of values such as the custody of traditional knowledge, inter-generational respect and strengthen the irreplaceable role of women in the agricultural and livestock sectors.
The head of the Holy See delegation concluded by recalling the importance of promoting an ethical vision of the economy and society, saying it will lead to a just and peaceful coexistence among nations and encourage a sustainable and integral development that puts the human person at the centre.