Skip to content

Papal Message to U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization

A New Appeal for "Alliance Against Hunger"

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 17, 2003 (Zenit) - Here is the message John Paul II sent on Thursday to Jacques Diouf, director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, for World Food Day 2003.


To Mr. Jacques Diouf

Director General
of the Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations (FAO)

The celebration of World Food Day invites us to reflect on the fact that hunger and malnutrition threaten the survival of many of our brothers and sisters daily. This harsh reality is a cause of division between individuals, social groups, communities and countries; indeed, it epitomizes the gap existing between levels of development and life expectancy in different regions of the world.

The choice of this year's theme, International Alliance against Hunger, is significant, for hunger and the tensions arising from it can only be overcome by rapid and effective interventions brought about by a common will and joint efforts. This is moreover required by the objectives proclaimed at the beginning of the Millennium by the International Community and is the substance of the commitments made by the States taking part in the World Food Summit -- 5 years later, which considered such an "Alliance" among the different parties working together in this endeavor a guarantee of concrete results.

People are becoming increasingly aware of the need to unify aims and actions, as is the Church, which shares the hopes and sufferings of humanity. She is anxious to make her contribution to a solution that meets the expectations of each person. This prompts me, on the occasion of this World Food Day, to make a new appeal on behalf of the "Alliance against Hunger," an "Alliance" that must draw strength from a renewed understanding of multilateralism. And if this multilateralism is to be effective, it must be founded on the idea of the international community as a "family of nations" committed to pursuing the universal common good. As such, bringing about this "Alliance" requires the exercise of solidarity on the part of Governments, international organizations, and the men and women of every Continent; its foundation may be seen in the collective and shared responsibility for the common good and for the development of those who are poorest, so that every human being may become more a human being.

The work of the FAO, well known to the member countries, shows that the distressing phenomenon of poverty and hunger cannot be attributed solely to environmental conditions, to economic processes or to the consequences of past situations. Natural events and environmental conditions do play a role in this tragedy. Nevertheless we must acknowledge that the lack of management, the expansion of ideological and political systems far removed from the concept of solidarity, and the increase of wars and conflicts, in contradiction of the fundamental principles of international coexistence, create and aggravate socio-economic injustices.

Without overlooking other parts of the world, my thoughts go especially to Africa, where the situation continues to be quite alarming: people there are not only suffering from an imbalance of food production and a consequent food shortage but are also burdened by conflicts, epidemics and constant displacements that in many cases could be prevented by implementing appropriate strategies and programs based on the respect of human life and dignity. One of the most evident effects of all this is the reduction of cultivated areas. Moreover, so many of those countries afflicted by chronic political and institutional instability appear increasingly dependent on aid and on the importation of food from economically more developed nations, thus creating a truly unsustainable situation. Further forms of violence against life are not needed to resolve this distressing situation; what is required is the establishment of an international order inspired by justice and enlivened by a sense of brotherhood.

The economically poorest countries -- facing the constant worry of decreasing levels of food production and availability, and affected by the deterioration of agricultural and forest ecosystems -- are often forced to give priority to the intensive cultivation of lands. In this way, they can at least sell their native products in the hope that they will thus be able to keep up with the pace set by the global market. As a result, agricultural techniques based on the relation between production and need, between the variety of species and the protection of the environment, are abandoned and the "circle of poverty," aptly described by the FAO as the principal cause of malnutrition and hunger, grows ever larger. In order to avoid this vicious circle of poverty, it is necessary to appeal to all the resources of science, technology and economics, always in accordance with the criteria of morality and justice.

As the final stage of the Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples proclaimed by the United Nations gets under way, our attention needs to focus on concrete actions aimed at safeguarding the traditional wisdom of indigenous peoples and at supporting aboriginal communities living in very unfavorable conditions because of agreements on agricultural products, because of the failure to safeguard biodiversity or, in certain cases, because of the destruction of forest habitats and the uncontrolled exploitation of fishing resources. In fact, the abandonment of traditional agricultural methods, which arose and developed as a response to nutritional and health needs, is one of the causes of the increase of poverty among indigenous peoples. Subsequently, these peoples are drawn to urban centers, even being compelled to emigrate to them, suffering readily observable consequences for their quality of life and for their ability to preserve their specific identity.

The Church, with her various institutions and organizations, wishes to play her role in this world "Alliance against Hunger." She intends to do this by her commitment to promote solidarity and to make it an element that gives shape to and is characteristic of personal and social relationships. Solidarity can then become the foundation of these relationships and build a culture of solidarity and love. The Church desires in this way to be faithful to the example and teaching of her Founder; convinced that one possible outcome of such an "Alliance" is reconciliation with God and among human beings, which is a privileged instrument for overcoming obstacles and divisions. By re-enforcing a conscious civilization of love that promotes authentic and fundamental values, she helps to keep selfishness and conflict from filling the void left by the absence of such values.

For this reason, I ask the Christian communities, believers, and all men and women of good will to live and work increasingly in the service of the poor and the hungry, so that true reconciliation among individuals and peoples may come about. Participating actively in the joint and concerted struggle against poverty and hunger means taking part in setting up well-planned and resolute programs of action on behalf of justice and peace. May we be sustained in this effort by the invitation that the Bible addresses to every member of the human family: "If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness ... and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose waters fail not" (Isaiah 58:10-11).

It is in this hope and wholeheartedly that I invoke upon you, Mr. Director General, upon all taking part in today's gathering and upon the future work of the FAO the light and strength of Almighty God.

From the Vatican, 16 October 2003, the Twenty-fifth year of my Pontificate



Vatican City , VA
Pope John Paul II - Holy See, 661 869-1000



Hunger, Food, United Nations, Malnutrition

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.