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Pope Francis reminds world leaders of commitment to tackle hunger

by Donna Birrell

Pope Francis has challenged world leaders not to disappoint new generations when it comes to tackling hunger and malnutrition.

In a message read to a World Food Forum gathering, he urged world leaders "to look into the eyes of the young people who are asking for change, to listen to their concerns and be inspired by their vision." He said : "it is our present that will define their future."

"Let us be remembered for our resolve to be hopeful in the face of despair and to stand united in the mission to ensure that no one is left without the means to lead a dignified life,"

The WFF is a youth-led movement and network that aims to transform agri-food systems and achieve Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, 'zero hunger'.   

It was initiated by the Youth Committee of the Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO), a Rome-based United Nations specialized agency, which leads international efforts to sustainably defeat hunger and malnutrition.

The Pope thanked the FAO Director-General, Qu Dongyu, for convening the "significant gathering and to lend support to a new generation of leaders who are hungry for justice".

Pope Francis continued :

"Young people around the world are cultivating their creativity and energy to address the structural causes of the current food crisis, from protracted armed conflicts to the devastating effects of climate change.

"Their sense of belonging to the same community and to the planet gives them a powerful sense of urgency to act and solve the challenges afflicting the human family in new ways. Their gift to us is to bring innovative solutions to address old problems and the courage not to be constrained by myopic thinking that resists change."

He urged the young people not to be "petty" in their dreams, to "strive for a better future and turn those aspirations into concrete and meaningful actions." 

He asked them to "leave behind routines and false mirages and regenerate this world so shaken by the pandemic. This will be a happy reality if you sow solidarity, creativity and nobility of spirit."

The Pope's message was read on his behalf by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin via video.

Recalling a UN Food Systems Summit in September, the Pope pointed out that world leaders pledged to work together to achieve theSustainable Development Goals to help eradicate hunger in the world. 

He said : "their words are a promise to our brothers and sisters, to our sons and daughters and to our grandchildren."

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