The food crisis is threatening “the attainment of the primary right of every person to be free from starvation,” said Archbishop Migliori, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, at yesterday’s general debate of the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Substantive Session for 2008.

Addressing a session focused on the progress made toward the U.N. development agenda and the need to address the developmental needs of rural communities, Migliore noted the widespread impact of the ongoing food crisis. “In some places it manifests itself in scarcity of food with consequent malnourishment and starvation; in others it appears in the form of higher prices for families trying to provide for their basic needs.”

He blamed “a series of concomitant causes” for the crisis, ranging from “shortsighted economic, agricultural and energy policies” to the “increase in financial speculations on commodities, the uncontrollable rise of oil prices and adverse climate conditions.”

He also stressed the need for immediate and effective action. “At the outset, action must be taken to assist those suffering from malnutrition and starvation. …It is difficult to think that, in a world which spends over $1.3 trillion each year in armaments, lifesaving funds to help people in need are unavailable. A sincere will to tackle the issue must be accompanied by the necessary action, not simply words and intentions.”

Read Archbishop Migliore’s full address.