ROME– Pope Francis is set to visit Rome’s World Food Program on June 13, the United Nations’ frontline agency that works to end world hunger.
The news was first reported by French news agency iMedia, but both the Vatican and the organizers confirmed to Crux that Francis will visit the center for about two hours, at Rome’s morning time, and that he will deliver a speech.
On background, a Vatican official said the pope is going because he “believes in the cause” of this institution, known as WFP.
According to the UN’s agency, there are 795 million undernourished people in the world today, which means that one in nine people don’t have enough food to be healthy. Their website states that “hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.”
WFP also defines hunger as “entirely solvable” because “there’s enough food in the world to feed everyone and no scientific breakthroughs are needed.”
“Today’s knowledge, tools and policies, combined with political will, can solve the problem” they claim.
Through various programs which range from rapid response in emergencies to long-term projects to empower women, the organization aims to end chronic hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity by the year2030.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency and it’s financed through individual donations.
In 2014, like John Paul II and Benedict XVI before him, Francis visited Rome’s Food and Agriculture Organization, another UN agency with headquarters in Rome.
In that occasion, Francis called for “a reflection on the non-food use of agricultural products, which are used in large quantities to feed animals or to produce biofuels.”
Francis also called on politicians to pay more attention to hunger, even if there isn’t a consensus about how to solve the problem. He lamented that hunger is an unpopular issue because there’s a “generic resignation” that it simply can’t be ended.
Earlier on in his pontificate, he’d lend his voice to a campaign from Catholic Charity Caritas, “One Human Family, Food for All.”
In that video, the pontiff denounced as a “global scandal” that there are millions who suffer from hunger. “We cannot look the other way. The food available in the world is enough to feed everyone.”
He also said that access to food is a “God-given right.”