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Tuesday, September 21, 2004


VATICAN CITY, SEP 21, 2004 (VIS) - Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, is in New York where yesterday he addressed a meeting at the United Nations that is examining an initiative to fight hunger and poverty that has been promoted by the president of Brazil, with the support of many U.N. member nations. He expressed the support of the Holy See and "the personal adherence of Pope John Paul II to this important initiative."

  The cardinal noted the "vast humanitarian action of the many Catholic institutions in the world, especially in missions and in the poorest countries," saying that "the Holy See has always supported the many personal and collective initiatives that have been proposed to solve the drama" of hunger in the world. It has also supported, he added, initiatives proposed by U.N. bodies such as FAO, IFAD and the WFP.

  Highlighting the commitments made by governments to alleviate hunger and poverty in the 1996 Report of the World Food Summit and in the 2000 U.N. Millennium Declaration, Cardinal Sodano said that in his speech on this subject in 1996, he outlined the principles that inspire Holy See action: human dignity, solidarity, the universal destination of the goods of the earth and the promotion of peace.

  Notwithstanding a world alliance against hunger and poverty, he stated, "it was discovered bit by bit that there were not sufficient funds to finance a program of world food security." He recognized that there have been emergencies - wars and natural disasters - but added "the problem is far greater. The fight against hunger, and I would also say against thirst, goes beyond mere emergencies; this fight must face a series of complex factors such as, for example, the need to invest in the human capital of the local populations (in the fields of health and education) and to ask for the transfer of appropriate technologies and the guarantee of equality in international trade."

  Cardinal Sodano welcomed this new initiative and reminded "donor countries of their commitment to underwrite public aid for development equal to 0.7 percent of the GNP of each State."
SS/HUNGER:POVERTY/UN:SODANO                VIS 20040921 (350)

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