ADDRESS OF ARCHBISHOP RENATO R. MARTINO
The Holy See, by its nature, has always shown its concern for the recognition of human dignity and the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Chief among those is the right to life, from conception to natural death.
The Holy See also recognizes the importance of the centrality of the human person regarding growth and development strategies, including the eradication of poverty, the elimination of hunger and malnuturtion and the promotion of social and economic well-being.
The Holy See realizes the urgent need to provide food security to all people, especially those who suffer from poverty, hunger and malnutrition. The presence of a Delegation at the meeting provided the Holy See with the opportunity to observe, to listen to the testimony of experts and to learn about the various programmes and projects involving the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
In this current discussion the Holy See was not present to address the merits of developing new technology. The Holy See is well aware of the existence of plants that produce an abundance of food.
Feeding the hungry is essential. Finding ways to accomplish this is an imperative. At the same time, the Holy See continues to study the widest use of GMOs.
It should be noted, however, that in this present situation, the current affairs of the world concerning future sustainable agricultural development must begin with addressing the eradication of poverty, which has the elimination of hunger as one of its essential elements. The chief concerns today, at this moment, are the urgent needs of hundreds of millions of human beings who suffer from malnutrition, especially those threatened with starvation.
The information that has been collected will be very useful, enabling the Holy See to develop a clear vision regarding the use of GMOs.
Information leads to participation. Participation brings empowerment. The use of GMOs needs to be openly discussed so that informed decisions can be made by those who might receive and use these products. This will enable those people to continue on the way towards sustainable development.