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Caritas leaders participating in a "Food for All" meeting in Rome this week raise up bread. Credit: Sheahen/Caritas

Caritas leaders participating in a “Food for All” meeting in Rome this week raise up bread. Credit: Sheahen/Caritas

Caritas experts from around the world gathered his week in Rome to discuss hunger and how to end it by 2025. Strategising around the 18-month Caritas campaign “One Human Family, Food for All,” participants discussed challenges as diverse as seed rights, farmer suicides due to debt, “food for votes” corruption, school feeding programmes for malnourished children, and more.

“Every year, people go hungry in my country,” said Carsterns Mulume, National Director of Caritas Malawi/CADECOM. “As a country, we produce a lot of food. But on an individual level, some people have no food. There’s suffering in a land of plenty.”

The meeting participants learned more about the Voluntary Guidelines of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation that support the right to food. They also discussed national laws that address hunger, such as India’s programmes to give free meals to children, and the effect of food distribution on farming economies.

On Wednesday, the Caritas report “What climate change means for feeding the planet” was highlighted at an event attended by “Food for All” meeting participants, staff from embassies to the Holy See, and NGO representatives. “The climate has a strong impact on food security, and thus affects fundamental needs of people,” said Michel Roy, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis. Roy said that supporting small-scale family farming as communities adapt to a changing climate is crucial.

“Climate change is a real risk for us. We are low-lying islands,” said Amelia Ma’afu of Caritas Tonga in Oceania. “Some of the islands are sinking.”

The “Food for All” leaders are sharing best practices for reducing hunger as well as raising awareness of legal and moral issues affecting the right to food worldwide. “We cannot rest when one of our brothers or sisters goes without food,” says Martina Liebsch, Policy and Advocacy Director of Caritas Internationalis. “The world has significantly reduced hunger over the past 20 years, but millions of people still go to sleep hungry. We must do more to feed the least of these.”