Breaking Bread towards zero hunger

Different community and faith leaders will come together with UN leaders on the evening of 21 September at the United Nations in New York to “break bread” in a celebration of a shared commitment to achieving zero hunger in our lifetime.

Refugees on the Greek island of Kos receive a meal thanks to Caritas. Natalia Tsoukala/Caritas

Refugees on the Greek island of Kos receive a meal thanks to Caritas. Natalia Tsoukala/Caritas

There are 795 million hungry people in the world today. With this unprecedented need to feed the hungry, there is momentum to forge stronger partnerships between governments and civil society—including religious communities, UN agencies, NGOs and the private sector.

By working together, we broaden and strengthen our collective reach. United, we have the power to reach zero hunger.

Caritas Internationalis is joining UN agencies the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), to host the special Breaking Bread event. Islamic Relief and the Partnership on Religion and Sustainable Development (PaRD) will also co-host.

The gathering will taking place as the 2016 UN General Assembly gets underway, one year after the adoption of Agenda 2030. It is an opportunity to deepen collaboration to help realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Especially important is the universal imperative of reaching SDG2 – End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Breaking the Bread

Breaking bread is universally understood as sharing a meal. The simple tenet of sharing food with others who have none runs through all religions. The event will feature plates of bread, or other simple food from each community, and quotes from religious traditions on food and sharing.

It will begin with music and the words of the people we serve, followed by brief words from representatives from five faiths, who will break bread and outline how central food is to life and to the work of their communities. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, will represent the Catholic Church.

Caritas Internationalis is asking the UN Secretary General to call for a high-level Special Session at the UN General Assembly to transform unjust systems that generate hunger.

Governments need to reaffirm the importance of the universally recognized human right to adequate food and to adopt laws and policies that are centred around it.

War and economic sanctions in Syria have led to bread shortages. Different types of pita bread are a staple in many Middle Eastern countries. In Eygptian Arabic, bread means life. Credit: Patrick Nicholson/Caritas

War and economic sanctions in Syria have led to bread shortages. Different types of pita bread are a staple in many Middle Eastern countries. In Eygptian Arabic, bread means life. Credit: Patrick Nicholson/Caritas

On his visit to WFP in June this year, Pope Francis said “we cannot naturalize the fact that so many people are starving”. He called on governments to increase their commitment to cooperate against hunger. “The credibility of an institution is not based on its declarations, but on the work accomplished by its members,” he said.

Follow the event on social media #breakingbread #zerohunger

Caritas Internationalis

President: Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle
Secretary General: Michel Roy

Caritas Internationalis
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Vatican City State
V-00120

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