John Paul II Calls for International Mobilization Against Hunger

On Eve of World Food Summit

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 9, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II made an urgent appeal to heads of state and government to bolster the international community´s struggle against hunger.



The Holy Father´s appeal today took place on the eve of the opening of the World Food Summit, which will gather leaders at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters here. The summit runs from Monday through Thursday.

"Millions of people, who suffer daily from hunger and malnutrition, expect from this meeting a confirmation of the commitments assumed in this respect in 1996," the Pope said, referring to the first World Food Summit, also held in Rome.

On that occasion, national delegations committed themselves to reduce the number of the world´s hungry, from 800 million to 400 million, by 2015.

Addressing the pilgrims gathered at midday in St. Peter´s Square to pray the Angelus, John Paul II appealed to world leaders to "know how to express the legitimate aspirations of the people and give new impulse to the international community´s struggle against hunger."

According to FAO, an additional public investment of $24 billion is necessary in poor countries to reach the goal set in 1996.

One out of every seven people does not have enough to eat, FAO says. Most of the hungry live in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, it reports.