Brazil primate urges leaders to prioritize food security

Posted Dec 13, 2013

[Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil] Presiding Bishop Francisco de Assis da Silva of sent a letter Dec. 9 to government leaders urging them to promote food security and ending hunger in setting the agenda for the 2014 G20 Summit. The presiding bishop joined a larger movement being organized by the Anglican Alliance. The full letter follows.

Your Excellencies

Minister Milton Rondó, General Coordinator of International Actions to Combat Hunger
Dr. Gilberto Carvalho, Office of the President


Brazil has excelled on the world stage as a country that has adopted public policies geared toward diminishing poverty and inequality, as well as policies aimed at the unbreakable tripod of climate change, food security and sustainable development. Worldwide, religions have been committed to involvement on these issues and realities. For Christian churches, such involvement is a requirement of faith, more than just an ethical or humanitarian engagement. For this, during this moment of gathering the richest countries in the world, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil cannot keep from manifesting and expressing our support for the positions of Brazil in these meetings, and to remind them of what is important and cannot be forgotten.

Recognizing that in the context of the G20 summit Brazil has communicated its intentions on this topic, we are writing to you to continue prioritizing policies that attend to the needs of people worldwide, to guarantee the right to healthy food and the right to produce without pollutants, and to do so without concentrating solely on export. Also we emphasize the importance of listening and involving not just government and corporate aspects, but also social, civil and religious organizations in this fundamental role, that these spaces can also be used to influence G20 nations to eradicate this scandal—that 1 billion people worldwide live with hunger every day. Australia will have the G20 presidency, and we would like to solicit that the Brazilian government use its influence to persuade its colleagues and Australian partners to include food security on the working agenda, connecting this theme and realities with climate change and sustainable development.

For the social civil organizations, food sovereignty and nutrition is of paramount importance in overcoming inequalities. This item was on the agenda of the G20 summit which took place this year in Russia.  The St. Petersburg Development Observatory in Russia gave priority to food security, focusing especially on rural and family farming, and the empowerment of women, who comprise the majority in this type of agriculture. We fully support this type of initiative also in Brazil, with many important government sectors involved, and especially for the social movements which work with small-scale production and rural and family farming, which are statistically proven to be segments that feed this country.

At the last meeting of G20 in Moscow, there was a notable lecture made by the Brazilian government called “Comprehensive approach to social protection and food security for sustainable development. Our country made an impactful presentation indicating a new and radical way that, together with civil society, we deal with these realities of nutritional and food security. We have shared our experience and our learnings in this field especially with African countries, with which we have a historical relationship.

During the summit in Moscow, Mr. Miguel Grisbach de Pereira Franco, Ambassador of Brazil, shared an essay entitled “Brazil: policies to improve food security and nutrition through social protection”, which was well received by other participants.

We of the Anglican family are present in the majority of the poorest countries in the world, and we consider it a key role in our mission to overcome poverty and injustice, and to have a commitment to assure that no one has to live with hunger in a world of such abundance. We understand this as a priority for the twenty richest countries in the world should take into account in their policies this overcoming of poverty, inequality and hunger that affects so many millions of people on the planet.

Faithful to our commitment to human dignity, and with the preservation of the environment, we wish to solicit that the Brazilian government firmly defend positions to the countries of G20 to overcome the disgrace still plaguing us in such high figures in today’s world, that so many do not have access to healthy food!

++ Francisco de Assis da Silva
Presiding Bishop of Brazil and Diocesan Bishop in Santa Maria