Hindus criticize World Hunger Summit for ignoring religious leaders except Pope

November 14, 2009
Asian Tribune

Hindus have strongly criticized non-inclusion of world religious leaders, except Pope, in much-publicized and prestigious “World Summit on Food Security” of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations at Rome from November 16-18.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement released in the state of Nevada, emphasized that for successful implementation at the grassroots level of strategic decisions coming out of such a summit, involvement of world religions and their leaders was extremely important.

Pope was undoubtedly the leader of the single largest religious denomination of the world, but other religions and denominations also existed on this planet with huge following. FAO should have been more inclusive by inviting leaders of various religions and denominations, Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated.

Besides Pope, various heads of state are participating in this Summit which will try to find ways to eliminate hunger. It will include statements by heads of state/government, delegation heads, and special guests, followed by debate and discussions regarding minimizing negative impact of current crisis on world food security, global governance of food security, challenges of climate change on food security, measures to enhance food security, etc.

Rajan Zed further said that about one billion hungry and malnutritioned people were a moral blot on the humanity. Worsening world food insecurity situation and growing number of hungry in the world was simply unacceptable.

Zed stressed that everybody should have the right to food and basic social services. We the world had the resources and technology to tackle hunger; all we needed was an effective global governance, commitment, political will, wholehearted involvement, and partnership for food security. Some fundamental change in world policy was required, focusing on the most vulnerable.

Such summits should involve the faiths and give faith leaders a respectable role to play to achieve concrete results at the ground level and to see effective and smooth implementation of global agreements reached, Rajan Zed suggested. Religion was the most powerful and far-reaching force in our society and could prove very influential in handling concerns like world hunger, Zed added.

FAO claims to lead “international efforts to defeat hunger” and its mandate involves achieving food security for all; and to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active and healthy lives. Dr Jacques Diouf of Senegal is its Director-General in his third six-year term. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.