The World Food Programme (WFP) has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger and improve conditions for peace in conflict-prone areas.
Chairperson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, made the announcement at the Nobel Institute in Oslo on Friday.
Reiss-Andersen said the United Nations (UN) agency was chosen for the award for “acting as a driving force to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”.
She said the committee preferred the WFP because it wanted to “turn the eyes of the world to the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger.”
The award, according to her, is also a call to the international community to fund the agency adequately and to ensure people are not starving.
The chairperson said that the WFP would still have been a worthy recipient of the prize without the coronavirus pandemic.
“The virus has strengthened the reasons for giving it to the WFP, including the need for multilateralism in a time of global crisis.
“Its a very important UN organisation. The UN plays a key role in upholding human rights. Food is one of our most basic needs,” she said.
The WFP is the largest humanitarian organisation in the world, assisting 97 million people in 88 countries in 2019.
Its efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations.
The WFP, established in 1961 with headquarters in Rome, Italy, has joined the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Labour Organisation and the UN Children’s Fund, as Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
Other UN agencies on the list are the UN Peacekeeping, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the UN itself.
A former UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, and former Under-Secretary-General, Ralph Bunche, are also Nobel laureates.