VATICAN CITY, DEC 5, 2003 (VIS) - This morning John Paul II received participants in the 32(nd) Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations which is taking place from November 29 to December 10 in Rome. Among those who attending the conference are Jim Sutton, New Zealand minister of Agriculture, and Jacques Diouf, general director of the FAO.
In his greetings, the Pope expressed the 'appreciation of the Catholic Church for the important service which FAO renders to humanity' and emphasized that 'today this service is more urgently needed than ever. Hunger and malnutrition, aggravated by growing poverty, represent a grave threat to the peaceful coexistence of peoples and nations. By its efforts to combat the nutritional insecurity which affects vast areas of our world, FAO makes a significant contribution to the advancement of world peace.'
'Given this close relationship between hunger and peace, it is clear that economic and political decisions and strategies must increasingly be guided by a commitment to global solidarity and respect for fundamental human rights, including the right to adequate nourishment. Human dignity itself is compromised wherever a narrow pragmatism detached from the objective demands of the moral law leads to decisions which benefit a fortunate few while ignoring the sufferings of large segments of the human family. At the same time, in conformity with the principle of subsidiary, individuals and social groups ' religious confessions, governments and international institutions are all called to ' share in this commitment to solidarity in promoting the common good of humanity.'
At the end of his remarks, the Pope expressed confidence that the International Alliance Against Hunger, organized by the FAO, 'will bear fruit in practical choices. The world may not remain deaf to the plea of those who demand the food they need in order to survive!'
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