John Paul II Calls for Joint Efforts to Battle World Hunger

Meets Director of World Food Program

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 27, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II praised the work of the U.N. World Food Program and urged that the problem of hunger be addressed through "joint efforts."



"The complexities of our modern era are such that the joint commitment and efforts of many different organizations are necessary if the nutritional needs of millions of men, women and children are to be adequately met," the Pope said today when he received in audience James Morris, the executive director of the World Food Program.

"This is no easy task," the Holy Father said in English. "But I am confident that, with the help and support of countless people of good will, the World Food Program will continue to be an important instrument of solidarity and assistance in the ongoing battle against undernourishment and starvation."

Established in 1963, the World Food Program is the United Nations' frontline agency in the fight against global hunger.

In 2002, the program fed 72 million people in 82 countries, including most of the world's refugees and other displaced people, spokesman told ZENIT.

The Holy Father expressed his "profound appreciation for the work of the WFP in helping those who suffer hunger and malnutrition throughout the world."

The Pontiff promised his prayers for all those who dedicate themselves to eliminating world hunger. "May almighty God bless your work with success," he added.

The Rome-based World Food Program is governed by an executive board consisting of 36 member-states. The executive director is appointed by the U.N. secretary-general and the director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization for a five-year term.

In 2002, the World Food Program had 2,684 staffers, including 2,063 who were working in the field delivering food and monitoring its use.