By Vatican News staff reporter
There is a need for “a change of course in favour of food that is more equitable, sustainable and crisis-proof.”
That’s the view of Caritas Switzerland in a document released Monday, ahead of the United Nations summit on food systems to be held in New York, USA, on 23 September.
The document highlights that “More than 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger, and this figure could soon exceed one billion due to global warming and the coronavirus crisis. One-third of the world’s population is undernourished and does not have access to sufficient healthy and balanced food”.
Caritas is, therefore, calling on Switzerland to “reverse course and make a contribution to making world food more equitable, crisis-proof and climate-friendly”.
Caritas Switzerland points out that what is urgently needed is a change in the agricultural and food model, aiming “more strongly and consistently at agroecological agriculture”, through which “higher yields and incomes can be achieved by practicing cultivation that respects the soil and the environment”.
With this in mind, the agency is appealing to the Swiss Federal Council and Parliament to commit themselves to this nationwide goal.
“The aim must be to make environmentally friendly, healthy and fairly produced food cheaper and more competitive. The adoption of trade policies must therefore be “fair and respectful of the environment, so as to strengthen the human rights of small farmers and producers and to promote food security and sovereignty in the poorest countries,” Caritas says.
The Federal Council and the Swiss Parliament are also being called upon to “commit to a social and ecological circular economy with sustainable and fair value chains, and to ensure that companies based in Switzerland “respect children’s rights and human rights as well as environmental and social standards in the production of agricultural products worldwide.”
Danger of environmental warming
Recalling, that “environmental warming is advancing unstoppably” and that “every half-degree increase brings with it significant extreme temperatures, increasing the intensity of heavy rainfall, intensifying drought periods in many regions and worsening the food base of the most deprived”, Caritas is calling on Switzerland to “assume its responsibility and act in a climate-friendly manner” by a “socially equitable adaptation of the requirements of the Paris Agreement and strengthening its international cooperation on climate issues.”
Ultimately,” the document concludes, “it is in Switzerland’s interest to provide greater support to the poorest countries to pursue a low-carbon and climate-friendly development path”.