Pope to UN forum: Hunger is ‘crime’

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis on Monday decried as criminal the existence of hunger in a world which can produce enough food for all, building on a warning from the chief of the United Nations that climate change and conflict are both a consequence and a driver of poverty and income inequality.

Earlier in the day, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a meeting in Rome via video message that the world’s food system generates a third of all greenhouse gas emissions. That same system is responsible for as much as 80% of biodiversity loss, he lamented in a video message.

The gathering was called to help prepare for a U.N. food systems summit to be held in September in New York.

In a written message that was read to meeting participants, Francis said the coronavirus pandemic has “confronted us with the systemic injustices that undermine our unity as a human family.”

He said the world’s poorest people and the planet are crying out because of “the damage we inflict on it through irresponsible use and abuse of the goods God has placed in it.”

The pontiff added that while new technologies are developed to increase the capacity to produce food on Earth, people continue to “exploit nature to the point of sterilization, thus expanding not only external deserts but also internal spiritual deserts.”

Francis called the “scandal” of hunger a “crime that violates basic human rights.”


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