For Abandoning Climate Accord, Pope Swipes Trump on World Food Day

Pope Francis seemed to take a jab at the United States and President Donald Trump on Monday, while speaking at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Rome headquarters for World Food Day.

The pope called on the global community to work together to solve the related issues of hunger, climate change, and the refugee crisis.

“We see consequences of climate change every day,” he said. “Thanks to scientific knowledge, we know how we have to confront the problem and the international community has also worked out the legal methods, such as the Paris Accord, which sadly, some have abandoned,” he added, with an apparent reference to the Trump administration’s commitment to withdrawing from the 2015 agreement.

“We are called to propose a change in lifestyle and the use of resources,” he said. “We can’t be satisfied by saying ‘someone else will do it.'”

Pope Francis condemned “negligence toward the delicate equilibriums of the ecosystems, the presumption of manipulating and controlling the limited resources of the planet, and the greed for profit.”

“The yoke of poverty caused by the often tragic movement of migrants can be removed by prevention,” he declared, “consisting of development projects that create jobs and offer the capacity to respond to climactic and environmental changes.”

He specifically emphasized that ending armed conflicts and limiting the effects of climate change are “prerequisites” for addressing global hunger. His comments align with a U.N. report published last month that found worldwide hunger, fueled by conflict and climate change, is on the rise for the first time in more than a decade.


The report found that in 2016, malnutrition and food insecurity affected 815 million people, or 11 percent of the global population, up from 777 million the previous year. It also raised concerns that the global communitiy will fail to reach the U.N. sustainable development goal of eradicating world hunger by 2030.

“The biggest problem we have today is war, man-made conflict,” said David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP). “Eighty percent of the expenditure of WFP—over 6 billion dollars—is in man-made conflict zones like Syria, like Iraq, like Somalia…. We will never achieve Zero Hunger by 2030 until we end conflict.”

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Madagascar president Hery Martial Rakotoarimanana Rajaonarimampianina, whose nation is facing the impacts of climate change, also spoke at the event Monday.

“Young men and women are the most affected by (climate change-related) population displacements,” he said. “If we want to change the paradigm of migration, we need to find solutions in the countries of origin.”

“More and more people migrate because they do not have the option to remain in their homes and lands,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, who also lamented the root causes of migration too often ignored.

“How do you stop people who are ready to risk everything, entire generations that can disappear for lack of their daily bread, or because they are the victims of violence or climate change?” the pope posed in his speech.

“They go where they see light, or sense a hope of life. They cannot be stopped by physical, economic, legal, or ideological barriers: only a coherent application of the principle of humanity can do that,” he said, perhaps referencing attempts by Trump and European leaders to enact stricter refugee rules, and even a wall along the southern U.S. border.

“The organization of human mobility demands coordinated and systematic intergovernmental action,” he concluded, “based on existing international norms and permeated with love and intelligence.”

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