Interfaith Reflection

Read by Mr. Steve Chiu, Representative at the United Nations, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation

Dr. Marium Husain, President, Islamic Medical Association of North America, The Ohio State University James Comprehensive Cancer Center, Hematology/Oncology Fellow

Our story of food is one of sacred joy. Values of interdependence, sharing, dignity and empathy are enshrined in all traditions’ understanding of food as a universal human right.

Food serves as a sacred reminder of the holy and the righteous. It tells a story of fellowship and is an invitation into the presence of the Divine and the wider world.

Food should be a channel of peace, not a weapon of war used to cause hunger and poverty; We cannot sustain a global food system that exploits biodiversity and wellbeing in the name of short-term profit.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is a clarion call for the need to transform.

We call upon heads of states, Governments, civil society, faith communities, and businesses to:

  1. Invest in solutions informed by indigenous wisdom, smallholder farmers, women, and youth, targeted at building food systems’ resilience including agroecology without acquiescing to corporate capture of critical infrastructure.
  2. Subsidize nutritious, diverse plant- centered growing practices and increase smallholder presence within global markets from farmers, pastoralists, and blue foods.
  3. Guarantee food security through sustainability, nutrition, and equity – innovating with a moral compass
  4. Provide policy, innovation, educational, and business opportunities for the underrepresented food system actors and ensure their voices are involved at the highest levels of decision making.
  5. Restore degraded lands and protect ecosystems.
  6. Promote and support breastfeeding – the first food system
  7. Regulate the marketing of food and beverages to children, preventing ultra-processed foods from being sold as healthy substitutes to real, nutritious food.

Ours is a challenge of ethical and spiritual conviction. The most recent IPCC report is alarmingly clear. If we do not reorient our worldviews, our future is bleak.

As people of faith, we are committed to the equitable transformation of our food systems to prioritize people and planet over profit. Let us come together as a world community to face this challenge as one human family.

Thank you.