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Pope Francis: at FAO, “to change course” and introduce the “principle of humanity”

The Pope called upon the Food and Agriculture Organization - FAO - to “change course” and overcome armed conflicts and climate changes, the two root causes of hunger and related migrations. The proposal: “to introduce the category of love in international cooperation.” His appeal for disarmament and to stop recourse to weapons of mass destruction. “The management of human mobility requires coordinated and systematic inter-governmental action”

“Changing course” means introducing the category of love in the language of international cooperation. Namely, the term “humanitarian”, so often reiterated in this respect, should be understood as a “principle of humanity.” In his third address delivered at the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, in Spanish, approximately 25 minutes long, Pope Francis said that the management of human mobility requires “a systematic and coordinated intergovernmental action, conducted in compliance with international regulations and permeated by intelligence and love.” All those who are unable to defend themselves are vulnerable: those who  are excluded like migrant people, forced to leave their lands as a result of famine and war. International organisms should learn to listen to these people’s voices: initiatives adopted so far are insufficient. In his opening remarks on the occasion of the World Food Day, which this year is dedicated to the theme “Change the future of migration. Investing in food security and rural development”, Francis greeted the Ministers of agriculture from several of the Group of Seven (G7) nations – that included Italian Minister Maurizio Martina – whom he met shortly earlier on the second floor of the building – and FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva, who conveyed his welcome to Francis upon his extrance in the Plenary Hall.

More must be done to change the future of migration by acting on two main causes: armed conflicts and climate change. As regards the former, Pope Francis called for

“a gradual and systematic disarmament

envisaged by the Charter of the United Nations, also to remedy the heinous scourge of arms trafficking. Referring to climate change, Francis mentioned the Paris Agreement “that some are moving away from”, and criticised the negligence regarding the delicate balance of ecosystems, coupled by the arrogance to manipulate and control the planet’s resources, motivated by the greed for profit.

“We must not be resigned and leave it up to others to act”,

Francis thus proposed to undertake a change in lifestyles, in the use of resources, on the criteria of production and consumption.

Hunger is not an “incurable disease”, the Pope said pointing at wars and climate change as its root causes. Speculation is a scourge that furthers conflicts and waste, whereby conflicts and wastefulness are favoured “and the number of the last ones of the earth that seek a future far from their territories of origin increases.”

“We can and we must change course”:

the hunger problem can’t be solved by reducing the number of mouths to be fed but by realizing that “reducing is easy, while sharing requires a conversion.” “Reflecting on how food security can affect human mobility means starting with the commitment for which FAO was created and renew it”, the Pope said in his opening remarks, celebrating October 16 1945, when FAO was established at a time of severe food insecurity and large-scale population movements, just as today:

“The daily news of people dying of starvation and forced to leave their lands risks being met with indifference.”

Francis’ groundbreaking proposal is to introduce the category of love in the language of international cooperation: the word “humanitarian” must be understood as a “principle of humanity”, while multilateral and diplomatic bodies ought to advance this ability to love, since forced migrations won’t be stopped by physical, economic, legislative or ideological barriers:

“We cannot act only if others do, nor limit ourselves to pity, because pity is limited to emergency aid, while love inspires justice, and it is essential to establish the right social order between different realities that are willing to run the risk of mutual encounter. To love means to contribute so that each country can increase production and reach a food self-sufficiency. To love translates into thinking about new models of development and consumption, and to adopt policies that do not worsen the situation of the least developed populations or their external dependence. To love means not to continue dividing the human family among those who enjoy the superfluous and those who lack what is necessary.”

“Stopping the recourse to weapons of mass destruction is possible”, the Pope affirmed, underlining that such recourse claims victims among the poor and the excluded. When speaking of migrants, the understanding of their “vulnerability” causes disagreements, but for Francis there can be no misunderstandings or linguistic deceptions:

“The vulnerable person is a person living an inferiority condition who cannot defend himself, is lacking the means and thus is plunged into a situation of exclusion. This condition is the result of violence, natural events, or, worse still, of indifference, intolerance, and even hatred.

We need to listen to the cries of our many brothers and sisters who are marginalized and excluded: “I am hungry, I am a stranger, naked, sick, secluded in a refugee camp.”

“It’s a request for justice, not a plea or an emergency appeal”, Francis underlined: “the yoke of misery generated by migrants’ often tragic displacement can be eliminated through prevention consisting in development projects to create new jobs and in the definition of tools to fight climate changes and environmental degradation.” A lot has been done so far, but it’s not enough to uproot situations such as those linked to “land grabbing” and corruption.

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