Dear Sisters and Brothers,
On behalf of the World Council of Churches and the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSIPM) for relations with the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS), I welcome you to this comprehensive update and discussion on Global Food Crisis and the Responses. I thank each one of you for taking you precious time to participate, contribute and learn for this important encounter.
Over the past three years, compounded by the climate emergency, conflicts and wars, and the COVID-19 pandemic, the most vulnerable communities have been battered, increasing inequity, poverty, and hunger globally.
For the first time in the twenty-first century, global poverty has increased. An estimated 77 million more people were living in extreme poverty in 2021 compared with 2019. As 828 million people go to bed hungry every night, the number of those facing acute food insecurity has almost tripled- from 135 million to 345 million - since 2019. The current food system reveals systematic failures leading to 3.1 billion people (nearly forty per cent of the world population) being unable to afford a healthy diet each day. This crisis has been in the making for a long time and begs for fundament shifts in the way we manage the worlds resources.
We will listen to input - the voices from different regions of the world regarding this alarming reality, and the discussion will prepare us for the remainder of the 50th Plenary Session of the Committee on World Food Security, reconvening in Rome on 19 December. It will also help us to find sustainable and lasting solutions.
From our faith perspective,
- All are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and all people and creation are worthy of care and compassion.
- All are entitled to lead full lives and benefit from nature’s abundance (John 10:10). All are entitled to experience the love of God and not be hindered by our circumstances or our station in life (Romans 8:35-39). In the public domain, experiencing love translates to experiencing justice and peace in our lives each day.
- But we are not entitled to exploit each other and the planet to amass resources and wealth at the expense of others (Proverbs 22:22, Amos 8). Groups of people are not entitled to benefit from the global chaos, misery of the majority, superficial analysis and half-baked solutions.
Based on these values, through this crisis, Faith Communities have been:
- Mobilising locally, nationally, and internationally- to provide food and livelihood support.
- Involved in advocacy to lift the voices and experiences of the most marginalised, challenge injustice and provide positive examples and solutions.
- Addressing the situation holistically, addressing the root problems and challenging superficial analysis and solutions.
- Emphasising the role of indigenous peoples as custodians of the land and care takes of creation and a vital source of inspiration and hope to the world.
Hence, we are privileged to stand alongside CSIPM, the most significant international space of civil society organisations based on 11 constituencies, working to eradicate food insecurity and malnutrition.
It is also vital that we have the leadership of the constituencies and working groups of CSIPM and the Co-lead of the UN Global Crisis Response Group, with us to update us on the situation, both from the global and regional context.
With our shared vision for justice, peace and fulfilling and sustainable livelihoods for all, faith communities and civil societies must stand, walk and work together to achieve and sustain positive transformation.
Transform food systems through agroecology, ensuring food sovereignty and promoting local food systems, limiting corporate power, and transforming trade rules- are all part of our shared agenda. In our journey forward, let us hold the powerful and ourselves accountable and ensure the dignity and rights of individuals and people’s groups are protected and promoted.
Assuring this process full and energetic support of the WCC and her global constituency, I wish all success to this programme.