The Honorable Ban Ki-moon
The United Nations Headquarters
New York, NY 10017 USA
We are writing to you as religious leaders and leaders of faith-based organizations all over the world who on this day are launching a global campaign on food in order to overcome hunger and to improve livelihoods in harmony with creation and social justice.
For the whole of humanity, access to adequate, safe, and nutritious food has always formed one of the foundations of a just, peaceful and sustainable world. This vision stands in contrast to the reality of a world in which nearly a billion people lack such access. This brutal injustice is underlined when we consider that at this moment we already produce enough nutritious food to feed everyone on the planet. How we produce food, how we distribute it and how we ensure that all people have access to culturally-appropriate nourishment is a fundamental matter of justice towards all people.
As you are well aware, the world faces acute crises today – manifested in the severity of the economic crisis, sharp increases and very volatile prices of food, and documented effects from climate change. These crises are interlinked and will have a severe impact on the most vulnerable groups in the developing countries.
Although the multiple crises have been acknowledged by international and national bodies, the responses most often proposed are woefully inadequate. Our systems for producing, buying, selling and sharing food are profoundly broken, and more of the same will not help. We need to recognize that policies and practices of governments, international organizations and agribusiness have been central parts of the problem and we must accept that hunger is being caused by fractures in the structure of our global society. The good news is that, working together, we can change these policies, practices and structures.
Foundational to our approach is the right to food, which resonates with our biblical understandings of justice that all people have access to the means and ability to procure sufficient and nutritious food for themselves without sacrificing other fundamental rights such as housing, education and health. We believe all governments are required to ensure the right to food is protected and fulfilled. These are fundamental steps to reaching the Millennium Development Goals to eradicate extreme poverty and halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015.
We are writing to express our appreciation for your call to include the right to food as the “third pillar” within the Comprehensive Framework for Action (along with food assistance and safety nets, and the improvement of small holder agriculture). Your call on governments at the High Level Meeting on Food Security for All in Madrid (27 January 2009) to recognize the central role of the right to food – as the basis for analysis, action and accountability was a sign of strong leadership.
We write now to ask that you ensure this vision is converted into practical and tangible action.
The four year campaign we launch today, will mobilize people all over the world through their churches and Christian organizations to advocate for:
“Give us this day our daily bread” is a petition repeated by millions of Christians around the world every day as they pray the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer, surrounded by the Biblical narrative that calls us to care for humanity and all of Creation, leads us to provide food to those who are in immediate and dire need, and simultaneously work to expose and eradicate the causes of hunger.
Be assured of our support of efforts to realize the right to food and to reflect on, critique, and act against the systems that lead to pervasive and debilitating hunger.
Yours in faith,
Rev. Dr Setri Nyomi, General Secretary, World Alliance of Reformed Churches
The Right Rev. Dr Graham Redding, Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
Richard Fee, General Secretary, The Presbyterian Church in Canada and Chair, Board of Directors, Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
Pauline McKay, National Director, Christian World Service, Aotearoa New Zealand
Elenora Giddings Ivory, Director, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, World Council of Churches
The Venerable Colin Williams, General Secretary, Conference of European Churches
Rev. Raymond Pome Za Lyan, Communications Secretary, Myanmar Council of Churches
Alison Kelly, Christian Aid, United Kingdom
Rev Canon Grace Kaiso, General Secretary, Council for Anglican Provinces of Africa, Kenya
Dr Prawate Khid-arn, General Secretary, Christian Conference of Asia
John L. McCullough, Executive Director, Church World Service, USA
Rev. Dr. Seppo Rissanen, Executive Director, The Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission
Rev. Kathy Galloway, Leader, The Iona Community, Scotland, United Kingdom
Dr Ishmael Noko, General Secretary, The Lutheran World Federation
Rev. Rex RB Reyes, Jr., General Secretary, National Council of Churches in the Philippines
Rev. Michael Wallace, General Secretary, World Student Christian Federation,
Ivan M. Abrahams, Methodist Church of Southern Africa
Louis O. Dorvilier, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, USA
See more information and full list of signatures at: http://www.e-alliance.ch/en/s/food/unsgsignonletter/#c1114