Recognizing that it is within our collective means to end hunger, the world’s leaders made a firm commitment to do so by agreeing to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Yet no single individual, agency or nation can achieve this ambitious agenda alone. Doing so requires fully harnessing strategic partnerships, including with religious communities, faith-inspired organizations, governments, international organizations, and other stakeholders.
The moral imperative of feeding the hungry and caring for the poor lies at the heart
of the world’s major religions. We share a common focus on and concern about the
800 million hungry people in the world. -Ertharin Cousin, executive director, World Food Programme.
On June 13, Pope Francis addressed the executive committee of the World Food Programe (WFP) to offer his full support to the target of Zero Hunger and to give his perspective on the changes needed to end global hunger. The WFP organized two interfaith actions in conjunction with the Pope's address. One was a panel discussion of interfaith leaders, which included David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, and Ambassador Tony Hall, executive director emeritus of the Alliance to end Hunger.
“The feasibility of Zero Hunger has moral and spiritual implications,” said Beckmann. “It is no longer ethically sufficient to help people in need. We aren’t acting ethically unless we are helping to end hunger, which means advocating for the systemic changes that are required. God’s grace leads directly to advocacy to end hunger.”
In advance of Pope Francis' address, WFP executive director Ertharin Cousin invited religious leaders and scholars to Rome to offer their thoughts on the goal of Zero Hunger by the year 2030, which is the ultimate target of the Sustainable Development Goals that were announced in September 2015. A total of 24 religious leaders contributed statements to the document. The diversity of the group was impressive and included representatives of the Jewish, Baha'i, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Shinto and other traditions. Many made the statements on behalf of organizations, and not necessarily on behalf of a denominational body.
There was also broad diversity in the statements that came from Christian traditions, including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Vatican, the World Evangelical Alliance, the African Instituted Churches, the Episcopal Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the World Council of Churches. Representatives of ecumenical, interfaith and secular humanitarian agencies also contributed statements, including Bread for the World, the Alliance to End Hunger, Religions for International Peace, United Religions Initiative, Cadre des Religieux pour la
Santé et le Développement and others also contributed to the richness of the document.
Below is a small sampling of excerpts from the contributions to the document. (Read the full document)