Hunger is unacceptable in modern world: Pope

June 3rd, 2008 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Rome, June 3 (DPA) Pope Benedict XVI implored world leaders gathered Tuesday in Rome for a UN food summit to seek the eradication of hunger which the pontiff said has no place in the modern world. “Millions of men and women look up to you, while new dangers threaten their survival and worrying situations put at risk the security of their nations,” Benedict said in a message delivered to the summit by the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

“Hunger and malnutrition are unacceptable in a world where the levels of production, resources and knowledge are enough to bring an end to these type of dilemmas and their consequences,” Bertone said, reading the pontiff’s message.

He was addressing delegates from some 50 countries, including dozens of heads of state and government, at the UN Conference on World Food Security’s inaugural ceremony.

In his inaugural speech UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged world leaders to lift trade restrictions, taxes and other price controls that have helped spur food prices to their highest levels in 30 years.

Ban stressed the need to eliminate trade and taxation policies that “distort markets” but said such “parallel” tracks should not distract donors from the “immediate needs” of some 850 million people who face hunger.

The three-day summit, hosted by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), is aimed at winning donor pledges for urgent aid as well as forging an agreement to revive a 1996 pledge by world leaders to halve the number of hungry people by 2015.

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