A Vatican official called on world leaders to attend to intertwining social, economic, and political factors that result in food crisis.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, stressed the need for a global food system that is “robust and sustainable.”
“The peace of the world depends on how we deal with hunger in the world,” said the cardinal in a webinar from the Vatican on Monday.
The activity was the third in a series of online discussions to explore ways on how to battle hunger.
Dubbed “Food for Life, Food Justice, Food for All,” the webinar series was held ahead of the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.
Cardinal Turkson said hunger is “not new in the world,” adding that over 60 million people suffered from food insecurity in 2019.
He also said that the cases of hunger and the number of food-insecure people are expected to deepen because of the coronavirus pandemic.
He cited a projection that about 840 million people will face hunger by 2030.
In a video message, Qu Dongyu, director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said, one of the challenges of the time is to help countries in conflict work toward peace and food security.”
He said various crises, especially armed conflict, contribute to food insecurity, adding that conflicts must be addressed “to break the cycle of violence and hunger.”
Stefano Zamagni, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, lambasted the expansion of agri-businesses and mono-cropping plantations that affect the global food chain.
He said big commercial farms and agribusinesses have grown “too-big-to-fail.” Zamagni said the world could attain food security if there are more small farms.
In July 2020, the UN’s Lancet Journal shared that virus-linked hunger had led to 10,000 additional child deaths each month.
According to a recent UN report, at least 155 million people faced severe hunger in 2020, experiencing “crisis,” “emergency,” or “catastrophe/famine” levels of food needs, approximately 20 million more people than last year.
Of that 155 million, 133,000 people required urgent food to prevent death from starvation.