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Friday, October 15, 2004


VATICAN CITY, OCT 15, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was Pope John Paul's Message to Jacques Diouf, director general of FAO, the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organization, on the occasion of today's celebration of World Food Day on the theme, "Biodiversity at the Service of Food Security."

  He writes that the theme "signals a concrete way to fight against the hunger and malnutrition of so many of our brothers and sisters. In fact, to reach the objective of  adequate food security, what is necessary is the correct administration of biological diversity to be able to guarantee the diverse animal and vegetable species."

  "Unfortunately," the Message continues, "there are today many obstacles that are placed in the path of international action undertaken to safeguard biodiversity. ... Other interests seem to hinder the just equilibrium between the sovereignty of States over the resources present on its territory and the capacity of persons and communities to preserve or administer such resources as a function of real needs." The Pope underscores that  the "foundations of international cooperation" should include "the principle that sovereignty over genetic resources present in different ecosystems cannot be exclusive nor can it become a cause for conflict."

  The Holy Father highlights the need to protect the rights of farmers, to "guarantee their participation in decision-making processes" and writes that both quality and quantity of food are essential.

  He says it is important to remember "the indigenous peoples and communities, whose vast patrimony of culture and knowledge linked to biodiversity, run the risk of disappearing because of a lack of adequate protection."

  John Paul II dedicates further reflections to the importance of sustainable development and "above all, solidarity. Solidarity, correctly understood as a model of unity capable of inspiring action by individuals, governments, international organizations and institutions and all members of civil society, works for a just growth of peoples and nations."

  He closes the Message by saying that the Creator's mandate to mankind to "dominate the earth and to use its fruits ... involves respect for the project of creation itself, through a human action that does not presuppose challenges to the natural order."
MESS/WORLD FOOD DAY/FAO:DIOUF                VIS 20041015 (370)

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