Last week, Vatican representative, Msgr. Renato Volante urged members of the 33rd General United Nations Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to guarantee adequate food supplies and security, particularly for the world’s poor.
The conference was held from November 19th to 26th at the U.N.’s Rome headquarters.
In his November 22nd address, Msgr. Volante, who headed the Holy See delegation, expressed his conviction that "food security remains the fruit of action inspired by a strong solidarity," not of action that is "limited to forms of assistance or to interventions that, despite being well organized, often fail to achieve their intended goals."
He stressed that guaranteeing adequate food supplies, "is an essential component of that right to development intrinsic to each individual, people and nation, proclaimed by the international community but often overlooked, ... as the information presented to this conference shows."
Further, he told the group that "guaranteeing access to agricultural and food resources, is an important way to eliminate poverty and, hence, to put planned strategies into effect."
"It is the heartfelt wish of the Holy See delegation”, Msgr. Volante said, “that support be given to the activities and practices of rural populations (in which the importance of the family cannot be overstressed).”
He said that “They constitute the basic economic foundation for most developing countries where monocultures and forest and marine resources represent an essential - and, unfortunately, at times unique - means of survival."
On this note, he called for the upcoming U.N. conference on agrarian reform and rural development, due to be held in Brazil in March 2006, to "give 'voice' and support to those people who daily practice small-scale agriculture."
The Monsignor concluded his speech referring to the "notable importance for the development of food and agriculture" of "questions concerning the trade in agricultural, forest and fisheries products."