By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/19/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Pope Francis set a goal to end world hunger by 2025. Now an independent report shows that this lofty goal is both possible and may be the best economic choice we can make.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 2013 Global Food Policy Report says that world hunger can be eliminated by 2025, just 11 years from now, provided the world makes the right choices.
Shenggen Fan, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute wrote in the report, "Based on the successful experiences of several developing countries, we see the clear potential for ending hunger and under-nutrition by 2025 if the necessary policies and investments are adopted."
The report is optimistic and says we can even meet the UN goal of halving world hunger by 2015, just two years from now.
Fan told Reuters in an interview that we need to commit adequate resources, follow successful policy examples, and keep the issue "in the public eye" to meet these goals.
Safety nets such as welfare assistance programs that have conditions, such as sending children to school or seeking work are most beneficial. Programs for pregnant women and children will also yield a significant return. Agricultural innovation including modernization of methods and more efficient use of land will increase outputs.
The problem has been that many countries have underinvested in food, according to Fan. "They need to fix that," he said.
Corruption is also a problem because government officials often siphon substantial portions of money and food from public programs in many countries. Fan cited India as one place where corruption has prevented many people from getting the food they require.
The report also explains that in addition to being a moral responsibility, ending hunger is also a lot more profitable than ignoring it. Alexander Stein, one of the authors of the report said, "With the annual cost of hunger perhaps in the trillion-dollar range - which is as much as the GDP of Indonesia or Mexico - the bill for addressing hunger may be only a fraction of that cost. For instance, reaching more than 80 percent of the world's undernourished children with key nutrition interventions may require as little as $10 billion a year - at most one-hundredth the cost of hunger."
However, despite the obvious logic in accomplishing these goals, a greater awareness on behalf of the public, more action, and pressure on public officials is required. The public can also help by donating food directly or indirectly to those most in need.
Your Catholic Voice Foundation is already collecting food donations in response to Pope Francis' plea to end world hunger. It should be recognized that the Catholic Church is in a unique position to end world hunger that most governments and other agencies can never attain.
The Catholic Church includes 1.2 billion members around the globe as well as a global infrastructure which can provide distribution channels for those in need. In fact, in many parts of the world, the Catholic Church is the only humanitarian agency available to people.
More importantly, the Catholic Church has the power of prayer and moral teaching which can overcome many of the challenges that secular food aid programs cannot.
On Dec 10, Pope Francis asked all Catholics, to join him in 'Prayer and Action' to end world hunger by 2025. Participation isn't as optional as some may assume. We are all called to care for the poor, to feed the hungry and to clothe the sick. It is a part of "love thy neighbor" the new commandment issued by Jesus Christ.
Your Catholic Voice Foundation (YCVF) also has a plan to accomplish this task. Gathering Catholics from around the world under the banner of Catholic Team Global, YCVF will soon expand, distributing food to even more people in need. Food aid will be distributed through Catholic facilities, particularly schools where children will be fed for free. Parents will then send their kids to school to ensure they get free meals.
While students are in school, they will receive a moral education, which should help them to make moral decisions, thus breaking the cycle of corruption which fuels poverty. That education will be facilitated by Your Catholic Voice Foundation who will provide quality learning materials to students, notably XO Tablets which are optimized for student learning in the Third World.
Yet none of this, not the work of Pope Francis, nor the advocacy of the Food Research Institute can be accomplished without your help. Experts can identify the problem, leaders can call you to 'Prayer and Action' but only you can take the final step to feed people, especially children who will starve without your generosity.
It will take another 11 years to fully break cycles of corruption and poverty in much of the world, but the forces of good are already on the march. In the meantime, there are children who cannot wait 11 years to eat. Hunger does not take a day off, it does not wait for the next paycheck.
Please donate now to assist in these powerful efforts that go nowhere without you. Please join Pope Francis in 'Prayer and Action.'
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