Give Us Today Our Daily Bread

INTRODUCTION

Global hunger is a phenomenon that is increasing yearly particularly in countries wracked by conflict. In spite of Zero Hunger by 2030 as being Goal 2 of the U.N.‘s Sustainable Development Goals, it seems it may not be met. A better understanding of the difference between food security and food sovereignty is a key factor in solving the problem.

WRITTEN BY

SHARE THE WORD

PUBLISHED ON

The most up to date information shared in the Nations Security Council on 29 January 2018 on food insecurity indicates that lack of access to enough food continues to worsen in countries torn by conflict. Yemen, South Sudan and Syria are among the countries most affected by acute hunger.

According to reports by the Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) the intensification of conflicts is a key reason behind the recent resurgence of world hunger levels following decades of decline. Global hunger rose from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million people in 2016. The majority of the hungry, or 489 million people, live in countries wracked by conflict.

While conflicts affect food security and nutrition, deteriorations in food security can in turn increase tensions and risk of conflict. The combination of poverty, and hunger, growing inequalities, lack of opportunities, unequal access to jobs, land or credit is a volatile mix that can create feelings of hopelessness. Not being able to afford enough food can be a trigger for violence and instability where governments are weak and where growing inequalities exist.

Further, climate change with extreme weather conditions– changing rainfall patterns, floods or drought, crop disease and pests all render the food system vulnerable to sudden supply shocks, triggering global shortages and price spikes.  Food security is further threatened by reduction of crop diversity. Even when being optimistic about climate change trajectories on food supply, risks remain elevated.

In this globalized world the production of food has been captured and used to the advantage of agri-business and the advertising sector seeking profit over people’s need for food. Nutritionists are concerned that food production is not primarily about quality food and health of people. Obesity is an example of this.

Corporations dominate food and food producing systems putting profit ahead of people, health and the environment. Agricultural workers are often trafficked persons, receiving little or no pay, and deprived of labour rights. Slavery in the global supply chains of agriculture, fishing and aquaculture are modern issues often reported in the Trafficking in Persons Report of the U.S. State Department.

The introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) into local environments and food systems creates new colonialism patterns.  The privatization and commodification of food, knowledge, land, water, seeds, and livestock threaten the ethical dimensions of food production.

End Hunger By 2030     
In 2015 the United Nations launched a new program for sustainable development seeking to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by 2030.  Goal 2 is a goal “to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.”  This is summed up in the icon of SDG 2 as Zero Hunger.  Isn’t that our dream and our prayer “Give us this day our daily bread…”?

The Sustainable Development report of 2017 says that at the current rate of progress, the world will not meet the zero hunger target by 2030, despite major advances since 2000. The chart indicates where the concentrations of hunger and malnutrition are – Sub-Sahara Africa and Southeast Asia.  Hunger and mal-nutrition lead to a condition of ‘stunting’ in children under five years.

The good news is that data confirms there has been a decrease in the number of children having this condition between 2000 and 2016.  However, a new concern has emerged – an increase by 11 million in the number of children who are overweight.  Overweight is an indication of malnutrition. There are concerns about the links between highly processed foods with additives of excessive sugar, sodium and chemicals, and the obesity epidemic both in the U.S. and worldwide.

Food Security Vs Food Sovereignty                                                                   
What is food security and how does it differ from food sovereignty? Food security refers only to the availability of food, regardless of the type, method or location of production. In contrast, food sovereignty is a broader concept. According to the 2007 Declaration of Nyeleni, food sovereignty encompasses “The right of peoples, communities, and countries to define their own agricultural, labour, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique cir-cumstances. It includes the true right to food and to produce food, which means that all people have the right to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food and to food-producing resources and the ability to sustain themselves and their societies. Food sovereignty means the primacy of people’s and community’s rights to food and food production, over trade concerns.”

Food sovereignty is thus embedded in larger questions of right to food and social justice and the rights of farmers and indigenous communities to control their own futures and make their own decisions. Food security is a technical concept whereas food sovereignty is much broader having ethical implications. The right to food is in Article 25 of the Declaration on Human Rights: “Everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for health and wellbeing of himself/herself and his/her family, including food, clothing etc.”

Access to nutritious and healthy food is a fundamental human need.  Securing sustainability of nutritious food is not a matter of increasing production. Addressing multiple issues related to food production is critical including marketing of food and food waste.

Our Response
This poverty and hunger that diminish the lives of millions are fundamental threats to human life and dignity and demand a response from believers. “Give us this day, our daily bread,” we pray.  How can we let Christ live through us in a way that better helps to ensure the world’s hungry receive their daily bread?  This question is one that necessitates seeing ourselves as interconnected with our brothers and sisters across the world, so we can maintain the spiritual stamina needed to create a more equitable food system.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food declared that “the right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone or in community with others, has physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement. The right to adequate food shall therefore not be interpreted in a narrow or restrictive sense, which equates it with a minimum package of calories, proteins and other specific nutrients. The right to adequate food will have to be realized progressively. However, States have a core obligation to take the necessary action to mitigate and alleviate hunger even in times of natural or other disasters. We need to create awareness wherever we can.”

To achieve food security Pope Francis says, “we must begin with our daily lives if we want to change lifestyles, aware that our small gesture can guarantee sustainability and the future of the human family. Let us modify our relationship with natural resources, land use, consumption and eliminate waste: thus we shall defeat hunger.”  Earth’s resources are limited and their sustainable use is an urgent need for agricultural development and food security. Pope Francis says it is a “God-given right of everyone to have access to adequate food.”

* Winifred Doherty is Representative to the U.N. of her Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

Share Your Thoughts

All comments are moderated

From The Same Issue

The articles and content about this issue

From The Same Issue

The articles and content about this issue

From This Topic

The articles and content about this topic

From This Topic

The articles and content about this topic

WM Special

Risky Job

Explore Other Topics

Browse other coverage

Explore Other Topics

Browse other coverage

WM SPECIAL

Presents, discusses and draws readers to reflect on issues of outmost relevance to the world today.


FRONTIERS

Very often, mission is carried out in frontier situations around the world. Those who embrace these situations have much to share.


UNITY IN DIVERSITY

Writer Ilsa Reyes will be exploring the richness of Pope Francis’s latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti with a view of helping our readers to get a grasp of the this beautiful papal document.


FRONTLINE

Puts to the front committed and inspiring people around the world who embrace humanitarian and religious causes with altruism and passion.


IN FOCUS

Focus on a given theme of interest touching upon social, economic and religious issues.


FAITH@50

As the Philippines prepares to celebrate 500 years of the arrival of Christianity. Fr. James Kroeger leads us in this series into a discovery journey of the landmark events in the history of faith in the Philippine archipelago.


INSIGHT

Aims to nurture and inspire our hearts and minds while pondering upon timely themes.


FILIPINO FOCUS

The large archipelago of the Philippines, in its richness of peoples and cultures, offers varied and challenging situations for mission.


FOLLOW ME

Reflections and vocation stories that shape up the lives of young people.


MISSION IS FUN

As humor and goodness of heart are qualities of Christian and missionary life, the new column “Mission is fun” will be publishing some anecdotes and stories that have happened in a missionary context to lighten up the spirits and trigger a smile in our faces.


LIVING COMMUNION

To help readers of World Mission live this year dedicated to Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples, Tita Puangco, writer and lecturer, shares in this section insights on the spirituality of communion.


WINDS OF THE SPIRIT

A historic view of the Catholic movements that emerged from the grassroots as an inspiration by the Holy Spirit.


BRIDGE BUILDERS

On the Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples, radio host and communicator Ilsa Reyes, in her monthly column, encourages Christians and people of good will to be one with their fellow people of other sects, religions and tribes.


INTERVIEW

Questions to a personality of the Church or secular world on matters of interest that touch upon the lives of people.


WORLD TOUCH

News from the Church, the missionary world and environment that inform and form the consciences.


CARE OF THE EARTH

A feature on environmental issues that are affecting the whole world with the view of raising awareness and prompting action.


EDITORIAL

The editor gives his personal take on a given topic related to the life of the Church, the society or the world.


YOUNG HEART

A monthly column on themes touching the lives of young people in the Year of the Youth in the Philippines by radio host and communicator I lsa Reyes.


SCROLL

A missionary living in the Chinese world shares his life-experiences made up of challenges and joyous encounters with common people.


EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE

Life stories of people who deserve to be known for who they were, what they did and what they stood for in their journey on earth.


ONE BY ONE

Stories of people whom a missionary met in his life and who were touched by Jesus in mysterious ways.


INCREASE OUR FAITH

Critical reflection from a Christian perspective on current issues.


SPECIAL MOMENTS

Comboni missionary Fr. Lorenzo Carraro makes a journey through history pinpointing landmark events that changed the course of humanity.


PROFILE

A biographical sketch of a public person, known for his/her influence in the society and in the Church, showing an exemplary commitment to the service of others.


WM REPORTS

Gives fresh, truthful, and comprehensive information on issues that are of concern to all.


LIFE'S ESSENTIALS

A column aimed at helping the readers live their Christian mission by focusing on what is essential in life and what it entails.


ASIAN FOCUS

Peoples, events, religion, culture and the society of Asia in focus.


THE SEARCHER'S PATH

The human heart always searches for greatness in God’s eyes, treading the path to the fullness of life - no matter what it takes.


INDIAN FOCUS

The subcontinent of India with its richness and variety of cultures and religions is given center stage.


AFRICAN FOCUS

The African continent in focus where Christianity is growing the fastest in the world.


JOURNEY MOMENTS

Well-known writer and public speaker, Fr. Jerry Orbos, accompanies our journey of life and faith with moments of wit and inspiration based on the biblical and human wisdom.


IGNATIUS STEPS

On the year dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyala, Fr. Lorenzo Carraro walks us through the main themes of the Ignatian spirituality.


THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF JESUS

Fr. John Taneburgo helps us to meditate every month on each of the Seven Last Words that Jesus uttered from the cross.


INSIDE THE HOLY BOOK

In this section, Fr. Lorenzo delves into the secrets and depths of the Sacred Scriptures opening for us the treasures of the Sacred Book so that the reader may delight in the knowledge of the Word of God.


CONVERSATIONS

Reflections about the synodal journey on a conversational and informal style to trigger reflection and sharing about the synodal path the Church has embarked upon.

Shopping Cart