The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for “its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.”
In April of this year, the WFP warned that the world was facing “widespread famine of biblical proportions,” and that the food shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could kill more people than the virus itself.
Praising the work of the UN agency, the Nobel Committee chair highlighted its role in boosting resilience and sustainability among communities by helping them to feed themselves.
Congratulations on the award poured in from luminaries such as Tedros Ghireyesus, head of the World Health Organization and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, among others.
The WFP was founded in 1961 after US President Dwight Eisenhower called for a workable scheme to provide food aid through the United Nations programme.
Since then the WFP has grown into an organization which supplies life-saving food aid to over 100 million people in 88 countries, often in difficult and dangerous conditions in hard-to-reach places.
Hailing the WFP as the the “world’s first responder” on the frontlines of food insecurity, Secretary-General António Guterres lauded the UN agency on winning the coveted award.
In Yemen their supplies have been hijacked and sold; in Afghanistan, they have been forced to suspend food deliveries to certain areas after attacks from terrorists; and in South Sudan, one of their members was abducted at gunpoint.
The announcement by the Norwegian Nobel Committee “turned the global spotlight” on the 690 million people suffering hunger globally, David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, said after the announcement.
On receiving the award, Beasley said: “To receive this award is a recognition to the men and women at the World Food Programme who put their lives on the line every day for the struggling, suffering people around the world.
“So I hope this is a signal and a message that the World Food Programme is a role model and that we all have got to do more.”