19 November 2008 General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto today called for a new politics “that starts from the bottom up, not the top down” in the face of the current global food crisis of soaring prices and mass hunger.
“Without innovative and broad changes in our food policies, we will see hunger once again spread across the world like a mediaeval plague,” he told a conference on the politics of food at Columbia University in New York.
“The shameful reality is that, despite the fact that we have the knowledge, the financial and technological means to prevent it, half of the human population subsists at levels of malnutrition and poverty completely incompatible with their inherent dignity and rights. This is not only shameful – it is, to use religious terminology, downright sinful.”
Mr. D’Escoto called for an end to the dominance by the monoculture of industrialized food giants and the birth of a multi-functional policy focused on the poor and their right to food.
“In food politics, I would advocate food democracy,” he said. “We can move our food provisioning away from dominance by a few very large corporations to the control of people-oriented food systems that respect communities and their right to food sovereignty, and localized and regionalized food systems at the local and regional levels.”
But for many, solutions are coming too late. “Hunger and malnutrition, exclusion and poverty are taking thousands of lives each day,” he said. “We must stop deluding ourselves and face up to the fact that the ‘haves’ of this world must change their way of life, the patterns of consumption that show little or no regard for the disastrous impact of their lifestyle on the wellbeing of their neighbours, our brothers and sisters, and our shared home, the planet Earth.”
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