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Dear Mr Director-General,

On the occasion of the 1994 World Food Day, His Holiness Pope John Paul II has directed me to convey to you and your associates his cordial greetings and prayerful good wishes.

His Holiness sees in this annual celebration a timely reminder of the responsibility of the international community to ensure that the fundamental right to nutrition is respected and promoted. Ready availability of adequate and safe food for individuals and peoples is a first and concrete manifestation of that right to life and human dignity which has often been solemnly proclaimed but which still remains to be fully implemented. The cry of our brothers and sisters suffering from hunger and malnutrition represents an urgent summons to pursue concrete efforts to build a civilization more worthy of man.

The theme which this year's World Food Day invites us to consider is the importance of water for the life and sustenance of individuals and communities. Because everyone must have access to uncontaminated water supplies, the international community is called to cooperate in protecting this precious resource from misuse and reckless exploitation. Without the inspiration born of the moral principles deeply rooted in human hearts and consciences, the agreement and harmony which should exist internationally in the preservation and use of this essential resource will be difficult to uphold and foster.

For this reason, His Holiness trusts that this year's World Food Day will be the occasion for a profound reflection on the moral imperative of solidarity in making the earth's resources available to all its inhabitants. The very future of humanity demands that individuals and peoples work together in overcoming the exaggerated self-interest which hinders the genuine sharing of the earth's resources. In this great effort, the work of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is an example of responsible and generous commitment in the service of the whole human family.

His Holiness prays that the future of mankind will be marked by justice, peace and a balanced development, and he cordially invokes abundant divine blessings upon all who work for this goal.

Rome, October 10, 1994

* Document de la Mission du Saint-Siège auprès de la FAO.

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