Source: United Nations
The UN World Food Programme (WFP), which provides lifesaving food assistance to millions across the world – often in extremely dangerous and hard-to-access conditions – has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.
The agency was recognized “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 to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”, said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
WFP is the largest humanitarian organization in the world. Last year, it assisted 97 million people in 88 countries.
Its efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations. Two-thirds of the work is in conflict-affected countries where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries without conflict.
Global food insecurity aggravated by COVID-19
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.
The COVID-19 crisis has also added to global food insecurity, she added, highlighting that there will likely be 265 million “starving people within a year”.
Only the international community can tackle such a challenge, she insisted, before highlighting the fact that WFP had helped millions of people in extremely dangerous and hard-to-reach countries affected by conflict and natural disaster, including Yemen, Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
A ‘humbling moment’ for everyone at WFP
Reacting to the announcement, WFP spokesperson Tomson Phiri said that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN agency had delivered help and services to people who were at risk of both infection and hunger.
The award was a “humbling moment for everyone working and volunteering at WFP”, he said.
Mr. Phiri explained that, thanks to its global logistics network, the UN agency had made it possible for a number of other humanitarian actors to continue to do their work.
It not only provided short-term food aid, but also assisting people to become self-sustainable and be able to feed themselves, he added.
Headquartered in Rome, WFP was established in 1961.
With this recognition, WFP joins the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Peacekeeping, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), former Secretaries-General Dag Hammarskjöld and Kofi Annan, and former Under-Secretary-General Ralph Bunche; and the UN itself as Nobel Peace Prize laureates.