President Michael D Higgins this week described the food crisis facing the world in strong language more often heard at conferences on torture or other human rights issues.
Speaking at a two-day conference on hunger, nutrition and climate justice in Dublin, President Higgins said urgent problems face us.
“Global hunger in the 21st century represents the grossest of human rights violations, and the greatest ethical challenge facing the global community.
“The source of this hunger is not a lack of food, but the moral affront of poverty, created and sustained by gross inequalities across the world - inequalities of power, economics and technology,” he said in an opening address to the 350 delegates from 60 countries.
The conference, part of Ireland’s EU presidency, was hosted by the Irish government and the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice (MRFCJ) in partnership with the World Food Programme.
President Higgins went on to talk about “the great ethical failure of the current global system” saying it is striking how rarely famine is caused by natural disaster or war.
He said: “Although many people might imagine that deaths from hunger generally occur in times of famine and conflict, the fact is that only about 10% of these deaths are the result of armed conflicts, natural catastrophes or exceptional climatic conditions.
“The other 90% are victims of long term, chronic lack of access to adequate food which represents, I repeat, the great ethical failure of the current global system.”