Parolin at COP 27: Hunger, conflict, climate and inequality “all interconnected"
By Joseph Tulloch
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State of the Holy See, on Tuesday addressed roundtables on food and water security at COP27, the UN-organised climate conference.
He stressed the close relationship between food and water security on the one hand and issues such as war, the climate, and economic inequality on the other, before going on to provide a number of proposals for addressing these problems.
The major theme of Cardinal Parolin’s addresses – on the topic of food security, and one on the topic of water security – was the close connection between these subjects with other major global issues. This interconnectedness is a key theme of Pope Francis’ 2015 Encyclical letter on the environment, Laudato si’.
The Cardinal began his address on food security by noting that “hunger and malnutrition are increasing due to wars and conflicts, climate crises, market disruptions, inequality, lack of willingness to share resources and know-how, and the neglect of nature. All of these are interconnected.”
He added that “climate change affects the functioning of every component of food systems, often in ways that exacerbate inequalities between regions of the world and groups in society, in addition to adversely impacting women and children.”
Similarly, in his address on water security, Cardinal Parolin underlined that, “as a key input into food production, water is also essential for the functioning of food systems.”
“We cannot ignore that direct link between food crises and the climate crisis. Water security can and should play an essential role in climate policies and should be included in national climate strategies,” he said.
In each of his addresses, the Cardinal set out a number of proposals to help countries combat the problems at hand.
On the subject of food security, he suggested promoting sustainable production and land management, introducing programmes to facilitate the access of the vulnerable to food supplies, encouraging sustainable diets, intervening at both production and consumption to reduce food waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and including food systems in climate financing.
During his discussion of water security, on the other hand, he recommended improving agricultural management, harmonizing water sharing along transboundary water systems, intervening at both production and consumption to reduce water and food loss, coordinating water interventions with nutrition and health interventions, improving the quality and monitoring of water-food system linkages, and addressing social inequities in water access.
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