UN Food Programme Receives 2020 Nobel Peace Prize

The United Nations’ World Food Programme (@WFP) has received the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

The award was given to the organisation by the Swedish committee in recognition of its efforts across the world in providing lifesaving food and assistance to millions of vulnerable men, women and children.

A total of 107 organisations and 211 individuals were nominated for the distinguished award with prize money worth 10 million Swedish kronor (N435.98 million).

The WFP is considered as the biggest humanitarian organisation addressing hunger and promoting food security in the world.

The nonprofit is also notably known for its war against the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

“In 2019, the WFP provided assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries who are victims of acute food insecurity and hunger. In 2015, eradicating hunger was adopted as one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“The WFP is the UN’s primary instrument for realising this goal. In recent years, the situation has taken a negative turn.

“In 2019, 135 million people suffered from acute hunger, the highest number in many years. Most of the increase was caused by war and armed conflict,” the Nobel Committee observed.

Stating justification for the selection of the WFP, the committee said the organisation had helped countries facing hunger crisis at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger in the world. In countries such as Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Burkina Faso, the combination of violent conflict and the pandemic has led to a dramatic rise in the number of people living on the brink of starvation.

“In the face of the pandemic, the World Food Programme has demonstrated an impressive ability to intensify its efforts,” the committee expressed.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee links food security to peace and stability.

“The World Food Programme has taken the lead in combining humanitarian work with peace efforts through pioneering projects in South America, Africa and Asia,” the Committee said.

The Chairwoman of the committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, said that with this year’s award, the committee aimed at changing the narrative for the people in order for them to see the millions of people “who suffer from or face the threat of hunger”.

“The World Food Programme plays a key role in multilateral co-operation in making food security an instrument of peace,” she said.

The Executive Director of WFP said he was “deeply humbled” by the honour.

“This is an incredible recognition of the dedication of the WFP family, working to end hunger every day in 80+ countries. Thank you for this incredible honour,” he stated.

The Nobel Committee called upon organisations around the world to endorse and emulate the activities of the WFP for a peaceful world.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee also said its efforts for contributing in areas of conflict and efforts in preventing the use of hunger as a weapon of war was also a contributing factor for selecting them for this year’s award.

Additional reporting by Aliyu Dahiru

No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means without proper attribution to HumAngle, generally including the author's name, a link to the publication and a line of acknowledgement.

Hafsah Abubakar Matazu

Hafsah Abubakar Matazu is the Head of the Humanitarian and Development Desk at HumAngle, focusing on both international and national organisations providing aid, as well as contributing to the response to the crisis in Nigeria and Africa as a whole especially where it comes to insecurity. Her reporting also extends to foreign missions and other diplomatic relations in this regard.

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