(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis will travel to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome on Monday to attend a ceremony marking World Food Day.
This year’s theme is “Change the future of migration”.
The Holy Father will be joined by the Director-General of FAO, José Graziano da Silva and G7 Agriculture Ministers.
George Rapsomanikis is a Senior Economist at FAO and spoke to Lydia O’Kane about the Pope’s upcoming visit.
Speaking about expectations for the Pope’s visit, Mr Rapsomanikis noted that World Food Day was a very important occasion for FAO as the organization was founded on the 16th of October 1945. The theme for this year’s World Food Day highlights the issue of migration and the FAO economist said that, “the presence of Pope Francis links directly with migration…” He added, Pope Francis will strengthen the message to promote safe and regular migration and will uplift it; he is committed to the poor and migration is an issue which is very close to his heart.”
Asked about some of the common concerns that the Holy See and FAO share in the world today, one of the issues Mr Rapsomanikis noted was the care for the environment and climate change. He went on to say the Papal Encyclical on the care for creation, Laudato Si, “has contributed to the debate on climate change and sustainability and these are key factors in achieving food security and relate directly to FAO’s work and mandate.”
In the world today, underlined, Mr Rapsomanikis, “we have an unprecedented situation, conflict, political instability that are exacerbated by extreme climatic events like drought; they have resulted in severe food insecurity in South Sudan, in Somalia, in Northeastern Nigeria and Yemen.
The Pope, commented the FAO economist, “is a spiritual leader of more than 1 billion people, but his views on peace and on social justice are shared by many more people of different nationality, faith and colour.