Holy See: fight against hunger demands greater commitment from the world

In an address to a meeting at the United Nations yesterday in New York, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, expressed the Vatican's support for an initiative proposed by the president of Brazil to fight hunger and poverty around the world.

After expressing "the personal adherence of Pope John Paul II to this important initiative," the cardinal noted the "vast humanitarian action of the many Catholic institutions in the world, especially in missions and in the poorest countries," saying that "the Holy See has always supported the many personal and collective initiatives that have been proposed to solve the drama" of hunger in the world.

The Cardinal mentioned the support of the Holy See for previous initiatives by U.N. bodies to alleviate poverty and hunger such as the 1996 Report of the World Food Summit and the 2000 U.N. Millennium Declaration, and, referring to a speech he made in 1996, outlined the principles that inspire Holy See action: human dignity, solidarity, the universal destination of the goods of the earth and the promotion of peace.

Notwithstanding a world alliance against hunger and poverty, he stated, "it was discovered bit by bit that there were not sufficient funds to finance a program of world food security."

Acknowledging that although there have been emergencies in recent years that have drawn funds away from these initiatives, Cardinal Sodano said that "the problem [of hunger] is far greater."

"The fight against hunger," he continued, "and I would also say against thirst, goes beyond mere emergencies; this fight must face a series of complex factors such as, for example, the need to invest in the human capital of the local populations (in the fields of health and education) and to ask for the transfer of appropriate technologies and the guarantee of equality in international trade."

Cardinal Sodano also reminded "donor countries of their commitment to underwrite public aid for development equal to 0.7 percent of the GNP of each State."

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