“It is important to ensure that food systems are resilient, inclusive, sustainable and able to provide healthy and affordable diets for all,” Pope Francis said in his message to the 42nd session of the FAO Conference.

Addressing Michal Kurtyka, Minister of Climate and Environment of the Republic of Poland and chairman of the session being held in Rome from Monday 14 to Friday 18 June, the Pope encouraged participants to a “circular economy” and the use of “renewable energies”.

For Pope Francis, “it is paradoxical to note that the lack or scarcity of food is suffered precisely by those who produce it”. And he recalled that “three quarters of the world’s poor live in rural areas and depend mainly on agriculture for their livelihood”.

For this reason, the Pontiff encouraged the efforts of the international community “so that each country can achieve food autonomy, whether through new models of development and consumption, or through forms of community organization that preserve local ecosystems and biodiversity”.

The potential of technological innovation must be brought to small producers, he told the FAO, and called on them to make a difference: “While a few sow tensions, confrontations and falsehoods, we, on the other hand, are invited to build with patience and determination a culture of peace, which moves towards initiatives that embrace all aspects of human life and help us to reject the virus of indifference”.

The Pope highlighted the current critical moment, “still marked by the health, economic and social crisis provoked by Covid-19,” which “in spite of the achievements made in the past few years, is still a crisis for the poor. Despite the achievements made, many of our brothers and sisters still do not have access to the necessary food, neither in quantity nor in quality”.

In 2020 “the number of people who were exposed to the risk of acute food insecurity, reached the highest figure of the last five years”. For this reason, Francis called for “the adoption of policies capable of addressing the structural causes that provoke them.”

The solution to the crisis: “The fundamental factor in recovering from the crisis that afflicts us is an economy tailored to man, not subject only to profit, but anchored in the common good, friendly to ethics and respectful of the environment”.

Finally, he told the participants: “Simply outlining programs is not enough to galvanize the action of the international community; tangible gestures are needed that have as their point of reference the common belonging to the human family and the fostering of fraternity. Actions that facilitate the creation of a society that promotes education, dialogue and equity”.

“The Holy See and the Catholic Church, with its structures and institutions, support the work of this Conference and accompany you in your dedication in favor of a more just world, at the service of our defenseless and needy brothers and sisters”, he concluded.