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Caritas is fed up with hunger – Demands a future without hunger

Date

31 May 2012

Sections

Global Europe

International Congress on Global Hunger and Food Security, Vienna 1-2 June 2012

Brussels, 31 May 2012 – For immediate release

Dying of hunger in our world of plenty is a scandal and the denial of the most basic human right: the right to food. Hunger is not a natural phenomenon; it has social, economic and political causes. It is a global tragedy; the biggest drama is the fact that it could be avoided. It is time to put an end to this scandal, says Caritas Europa.

Caritas tackles this challenge at the Congress “Future Without Hunger” which takes place in Vienna, Austria, on 1-2 June 2012. It is organised jointly by Caritas Austria, Caritas Internationalis and Caritas Europa, and will take an in-depth look at current developments in food security, global trade and hunger disasters. 33 speakers from 19 different countries will discuss strategies against global hunger. Experts from academia, the world of economics and politics, and aid organizations, will make presentations and discuss the fight against hunger with participants.

Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner on International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, is a key-note speaker, together with Tesfai Tecle, special advisor to Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohan Munasinghe, and Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez, President of Caritas Internationalis. Other speakers include Heinz Fischer, President of Austria, and Erny Gillen, President of Caritas Europa, as well as representatives from Caritas organisations in Bangladesh, India, Senegal, Congo, Moldova and Austria. Find here a detailed programme in German and English.

Today 925 million people are starving and 7,000 children die from hunger every day, that is, every 12 seconds a child dies of hunger.

Eradicating hunger is the first of the eight Millennium Development Goals, a series of anti- poverty targets governments promised to achieve by 2015. Official reports from UN agencies show encouraging projections towards the attainment of this objective in the overall developing world1. However, if this may be true for the world’s emerging economies which inflate global statistics, the same trends do not apply to low-income countries, where inequality and vulnerability remain unchanged.

Erny Gillen, President of Caritas Europa:

“The lack of food security for almost one billion people is an unacceptable moral failure. Social justice is necessary to tackle this dramatic challenge.”

“This is a terrible legacy to leave the future generations. It is why no challenge is in greater need of the innovation and intellectual rigour for which this Congress has been organised.”

“Food is the most simple, basic need and concern, but also genuine desire and joy of all humankind. In Western countries, food is too often taken for granted, to the point of not being consumed and wasted in large amounts. For developing countries, food insecurity (or lack of “daily bread” for everyone) is a reality that deprives and hampers human development and attempts to human dignity. However it is the right of all human beings to live in dignity, free from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.”

Every day, Caritas organisations worldwide are witnessing how people are starving in every corner of the world. Consequently, Caritas has exceptional resources from the ground in the field of poverty and hunger. By using this ground work, Caritas has put together 11 political demands to world’s decision makers (see annex), that will be presented and discussed at the Congress in Vienna:

 Respect the Right to Food

 Recognise the importance of agriculture for development

 Support family farming

 Help food systems to cope with climate change

 Ensure policy coherence to combat poverty and hunger

 Stop unjust trade in agriculture

 Regulate market speculation on food

 Stop land-grabbing

 Implement moratorium on import of agro-fuels

 Implement just food security governance

 Give emergency food assistance a longer perspective

Moreover, Caritas is confident that most human beings can contribute to counter-attacking this serious development, by being aware of the danger, adapting to a different life-style with love for all neighbours. Therefore, Caritas uses the platform of the Congress to introduce the “10 commandments for a Future without Hunger” (more detailed in annex):

1. Contribute towards everyone on earth having enough to eat.

2. Do not speculate away your neighbour's bread.

3. Do not fill your tank with the food that hungry people need to eat.

4. Honour the earth and work to combat climate change, so that you will live a long life and so as to give yourself and all people on earth a better life.

5. Live so that your own lifestyle is not at the cost of others.

6. Do not covet your neighbour's land and property.

7. Use your agricultural policy to reduce hunger and not to increase it

8. Take action against corrupt governments and their proxies.

9. Help prevent armed conflicts and wars.

10. Fight hunger effectively through development aid.

Live-streaming: Caritas Europa will perform a web live-streaming from the key-note speeches on Friday 1 June, at our website: http://www.caritas-europa.org/code/EN/inte.asp?Page=1390

During the Congress, Caritas Europa will deliver main information on the website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

1 The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011, United Nations; the World Bank, PovcalNet, at http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:23130032~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html

For more information, contact:

Thorfinnur Omarsson

Press Officer

Mob: +32 (0)4 73341393

tomarsson@caritas-europa.org

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