Pope calls for action on rural poverty

Pope Francis addresses IFAD’s governing Council yesterday (Vatican Media)

Sustainable development in rural areas is key to making poverty and hunger a thing of the past, Pope Francis said yesterday. Source: CNS.

In an address to members of the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s governing council, the Pope said that while achieving such a goal “has been talked about for a long time,” there has not been enough concrete action.

“It is paradoxical that a good portion of the more than 820 million people who suffer hunger and malnutrition in the world live in rural areas, are dedicated to food production and are farmers,” he said at the council’s opening session at the Rome headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

The two-day meeting of the organisation, commonly known as IFAD, was devoted to the theme: “Rural innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Before addressing the gathering, the Pope presented a gift to the organisation: a sculpture by Argentine artist Norma D’Ippolito titled Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) depicting the hands of Christ bound with ropes.

In his speech, the Pope said he came to bring the “longings and needs of many of our brothers and sisters who suffer in the world.”

“They live in precarious situations: the air is polluted, natural resources are depleted, rivers are polluted, soils are acidified,” he said. “They do not have enough water for themselves or for their crops; their sanitary infrastructures are very inadequate; their houses are meagre and defective.”

While society has made advances in other areas of knowledge, he added, little progress has been made in helping the rural poor. Winning the fight against poverty and hunger requires using scientific and technological advances for the common good.

“Being determined in this fight is essential so that we can hear — not as a slogan but as a truth — ‘Hunger has no present and no future. Only the past’,” he said. “In order to do this, we need the help of the international community, civil society and all those who have the resources. Responsibilities cannot be evaded, passed from one to another, but must be assumed in order to offer concrete and real solutions.”

FULL STORY

Pope calls on world leaders to eradicate poverty, hunger (CNS)

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