The United Nations Food Agency, the World Food Program (WFP), received the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its efforts to combat hunger and improve peace conditions in conflict-affected areas.
The Rome-based organization says it helps around 97 million people in about 88 countries each year, and that one in nine people worldwide still doesn’t have enough to eat.
“The need for international solidarity and multilateral cooperation is more striking than ever,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, at a press conference.
The WFP is a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which the WFP says could double hunger worldwide, has made it even more relevant , she said.
“The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a sharp increase in the number of hunger victims in the world,” said the Nobel Committee in its quote.
“Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos …
“There is an estimate within the World Food Program that … within a year 265 million people will starve. This is of course also a call to the international community not to underfund the World Food Program.”
“Beyond the call of duty”
WFP responded with a tweet for “recognizing the work of WFP staff who risk their lives every day to bring food and aid to more than 100 million hungry children, women and men around the world.”
At a briefing in Geneva, WFP spokesman Tomson Phiri told reporters, “For WFP this year we have exceeded our duty …
“After COVID-19, everything was shut down following statewide and global restrictions. The WFP rose to the top, we were able to connect communities. At a time when we were the largest airline in the world when most, if not all, commercial airlines stopping at ground.” “
Dan Smith, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said the Norwegian Nobel Committee wanted to send a message of hope and “support for international cooperation”.
“Hunger, like climate change, the pandemic and other problems, is a world problem that can only be adequately addressed through cooperation. The World Food Program is an institution of global cooperation,” he told Reuters.
“Unfortunately, there is a waning appetite for cooperation in too many areas, especially among the great powers,” he said, adding that world hunger was rising again and had been falling for several decades until 2016.
The award is endowed with 10 million Swedish kronor or around 1.1 million US dollars and will be presented on December 10th in Oslo.