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UN World Food Programme: Winner of Nobel Peace Prize 2020

With the coronavirus pandemic shaking the world to its root and pushing millions into starvation; the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to the organisation that is working day and night to save million from falling bait to hunger. The United Nations World Food Programme won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for “its efforts to combat hunger” globally.

The Nobel Peace Prize

Alfred Nobel, a Swedish inventor and industrialist; in 1901 establishes five Nobel Prizes in the field of chemistry, physics, physiology/ medicine, literature and peace. Every year people or organisation with extraordinary work in their field are awarded the Nobel Prize.

The Nobel Peace Prize is given to that person or an organisation that have; “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses“.

The prestigious Nobel Prize is presented by the Norwegian Nobel Committee; which is a board of five members chosen from the Norwegian Parliament. Along with the medal of Nobel prize, the winner also receives a sum of 10m Swedish Krona i.e. $1.1m; 875,000 Euros. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is the 101st winner of this award.

The Nobel Committee’s chairwomen Berit Reiss-Andersen while announcing WFP winner of Noble Peace Prize 2020 said; “turn the eyes of the world to the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger”.

The UN World Food Programme

The UN World Food Programme, a Rome based agency; was founded in 1961 on the will of then US President Dwight D Eisenhower. The purpose of the agency was to provide food to the vulnerable. Today WFP provides food aid in 88 countries globally; the team facilitates people with food even in the most conflicted places, risking their lives. In the year 2019, the programme helped 97 million people from 88 countries around the world.

Two-third of all the activities by WFP is organized in some of the most conflicted-zones in the world; for example, WFP sends relief for the survivors of natural calamities; they provide food-assistance to people living in war zones and highly conflicted territories. Some of these are

The Helping Hand

  • YEMEN: Because of civil war which is going on for 6-years now; Yemen is going through one of the worst hunger crisis. The WFP was running out of funds to provide relief in Yemen for fulfilling its aims of facilitating 13 million people food assistance with 100% ration across Yemen. The reason behind the shortage of funding this year was that some of the donors doubt that the fund doesn’t reach to the needy.
  • SOUTH SUDAN: War and drought in the country have caused the collapse of the nation’s food supply chain. The famine of 2017 in South Sudan affected about 50% of its population, i.e. an estimated 5 million people. WFP has been providing food-support in most parts of the country. In 2014, a WFP member was abducted “at a gunpoint” by a group of 8 people. But despite all disquiet, WFP continues to help people in South Sudan.
  • AFGANISTAN: Malnutrition and food-shortage are one of the major challenges faced by Afganistan. One-third of the countries population lives is a severe scarcity of food. WFP says that Afganistan’s years of complex and protracted conflict” is the main reason behind the food shortage. The agency has supplied food aid for a long time in the area and still do.

Why WFP won the Nobel Peace Prize?

The Noble committee believes that hunger is used as a weapon in wars and conflicts; if one, once get a grip over the food supply in an area, they can control the army and therefore civilians will be obliged to follow. If one then wants to ignite fear amongst people, they strive a portion of the population to attain that. Hunger and wars go hand in hand.

What the UN World Food Programme is doing is helpful in maintaining peace in parts of the world where vicious leaders or organisation are using hunger as a tool.

According to the World Bank because of the pandemic 88-115 million people globally will fall under extreme poverty. Falling into poverty will surely mean a shortage of food and an increase in the number of starving people.

In September 2020, the executive director of WFP, David Beasley forewarn that the collapsing economy and the coronavirus pandemic will cause a severe famine in many parts of the world. He also urged the world’s billionaires for funding of $5 billion in order to save about 30 million people from the upcoming jeopardy.

While announcing WFP the winner, the chairwomen Reiss-Andersen said, “The World Food Programme plays a key role in multilateral co-operation in making food security an instrument of peace,”. The Nobel Peace Prize will surely turn the world’s eye towards the outraging hunger issue, the capable might step forward to help the needy and together the dream of WFP’s Zero Hunger will become a voracious reality.