A health worker at a health center in the Central African Republic measures the circumference of a child's arm to see if the child is malnourished. A health worker at a health center in the Central African Republic measures the circumference of a child's arm to see if the child is malnourished.  (AFP or licensors)

Holy See to host high-level conference on combatting hunger

The Holy See's envoy to UN agencies in Rome is teaming up with NGOs and Rome-based universities to host a day-of-study on the issue of hunger and the climate crisis, which will see high-level participation later this month.

By Vatican News staff reporter

"Leaving No One Behind: Better Production, Better Food, Better Environment, and Better Life for Everyone" is the mission and title of a Rome-based Seminar set to take place on 27 October.

The day of study, to reflect on these topics "that are more timely than ever," is being organized by the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to FAO, IFAD and WFP; the Rome Forum of Catholic-inspired Non-Governmental Organizations; and the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights, established at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum and the European University of Rome.

In conjunction with World Food Day 2022, the event will address the importance of leaving no one behind and aiming for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, in order to overcome poverty and growing inequalities and put humanity back on a path that takes into account long-term development, inclusive economic growth, and the well-being of the planet.

Hunger, a harsh reality for 828 million

“The 2022 edition of the State of World Food Security and Nutrition (SOFI) Report, published jointly by FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO on July 6, highlighted how hunger, which the International Community had pledged to defeat by 2030, is still a reality for 828 million people.”

It is estimated that in 2030 nearly 670 million people, that is roughly 8 percent of the world's population, will still suffer from hunger.

Pope Francis' appeals

Pope Francis repeatedly insists how urgent it is to end the scourge of hunger through concrete actions and courageous policies.

One can recall his strong words in his message to the Pre-Summit on Food Systems in 2021 organised by the UN in Rome from 26 - 28 July 2021.

“If we are to guarantee the fundamental right to an adequate standard of living and meet our commitments to achieve Zero Hunger, it is not enough to produce food. We need a new mindset and a new holistic approach, and must plan food systems that protect the Earth and keep the dignity of the human person at the centre; that ensure enough food globally and promote decent work locally; and that feed the world today, without compromising the future.”

Unprecedented cooperation required to confront urgent need

The aim of this meeting, the organizers state, is "to reflect on the urgent need to transform the way we produce and consume food, for ourselves and for our planet, knowing that this will require unprecedented cooperation. We will do so, moving from a theoretical perspective, dwelling on actions to be taken for better production, better food, a better environment, and a better life for each human being."

The participants will focus on concrete experiences highlighting how the development of innovative ideas, the creation of strategic partnerships, and a deep concern for those who are least in the world, are preparatory to the change for which we hope, "to prepare the tomorrow of all, without discarding anyone: everyone's. For without an overall vision there will be no future for anyone," as Pope Francis said during his 19 April 2020 Divine Mercy homily.

The programme

From the Vatican, Cardinal Peter Turkson, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, will speak about "one human family, food for all as food justice," while Dr. Stefano Zamagni, President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, will discuss "what Institutions are, today, urgently needed to reach food security." 

Dr. Jyotsna Puri, Associate Vice President of IFAD, will discuss "food security in an era of conflict and climate change;" Dr. Maximo Torero Cullen Chief Economist at FAO will reflect on "a systems vision to achieve a better life for all actors of the agrifood systems;" and Dr. Luigi Sbarra, Secretary General of the ICFTU," will focus on "in decent work, the bud of the common good." 

Moreover, "the human right to integral human development that ensures food and environment for the vulnerable," will be explored by Prof. Alberto Garcia Gomez, Dean of the Faculty of Bioethics of the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, and "healthy and sustainable nutrition," will be explained by Prof. Manon Khazrai, Professor of Human Nutrition at the Faculty of Food Science and Human Nutrition in Rome-located University Campus Bio Medico.

Dr. Francesca Benigno, Federation of Christian Organizations International Voluntary Service (FOCSIV) will be speaking on "agroforestry and land rights advocacy" based on her experience in Myanmar, and Dr. Lia Zervino, of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations (UMOFC), will discuss "women's engagement to ensure a more inclusive future."

Dr. Vincenzo Conso, Coordinator of the Rome Forum of Catholic-inspired NGOs, will moderate the event; and Fr. José Enrique Oyarzun, L.C., Rector of Regina Apostolorum, will welcome the participants to the study day.

Msgr. Fernando Chica Arellano, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to FAO, IFAD and WFP, is to offer concluding remarks.

How to follow the seminar

The Seminar will be conducted partially in person and partially online.

To follow the event online, one can register using this link.

One can instead register to be physically present at the Rome event here

Translations into English, Italian and Spanish will be available through Zoom.

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18 October 2022, 09:14