UN World Food Programme wins 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, as hunger mounts

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Asha Bajaj

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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.

A UN World Food Programme (WFP) helicopter delivers much-needed supplies to people in Udier, South Sudan. Image credit: UNICEF/Peter Martell

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”.

UN Photo/Mark Garten

Secretary-General António Guterres (second from right) with David Beasley (right), WFP Executive Director, serving meals at the reception area for newly arrived refugees at the Imvepi settlement in Uganda.

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.

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Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women