UN World Food Programme Wins 2020 Nobel Peace Prize

The food agency has helped some 97 million people in about 88 countries each year, striving to promote peace in conflict-battered areas

Reuters
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People displaced by fighting between Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State militants carry food aid boxes given by UN's World Food Program at a refugee camp in Ain Issa, Syria, October 10, 2017
People displaced by fighting between Syrian Democratic Forces and Islamic State militants carry food aid boxes given by UN's World Food Program at a refugee camp in Ain Issa, Syria, October 10, 2017Credit: Erik de Castro / Reuters
Reuters
The Associated Press

The United Nations food agency, the World Food Programme (WFP), won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity around the globe, as well as improve conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas.

The Rome-based organization says it helps some 97 million people in about 88 countries each year and that one in nine people worldwide still do not have enough to eat.

The announcement was made in Oslo by Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Nobel Committee.

“With this year’s award, the (Committee) wishes to turn the eyes of the world to the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger,” said Reiss-Andersen. “The World Food Program plays a key role in multilateral cooperation in making food security an instrument of peace" and "contributes daily to advancing the fraternity of nations mentioned in Alfred Nobel’s will,” she said.

The Nobel Committee said that the coronavirus pandemic has added to the hunger faced by millions of people around the world and called on governments to ensure that WFP and other aid organizations receive the financial support necessary to feed them. "The need for international solidarity and multilateral cooperation is more conspicuous than ever," said Reiss-Andersen. 

The prize is worth ten million Swedish crowns, or around $1.1 million, and a gold medal to be handed out at a ceremony to be presented in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death. 

This year’s ceremony will be scaled down due to the pandemic.

There was no shortage of causes or candidates on this year’s list, with 211 individuals and 107 organizations nominated ahead of the Feb. 1 deadline.

However, the Norwegian Nobel Committee maintains absolute secrecy about whom it favors for arguably the world’s most prestigious prize.

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize for physiology and medicine for discovering the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus. Tuesday’s prize for physics honored breakthroughs in understanding the mysteries of cosmic black holes, and the chemistry prize on Wednesday went to scientists behind a powerful gene-editing tool.

The literature prize was awarded to American poet Louise Glück on Thursday for her “candid and uncompromising” work.

Still to come next week is the prize for outstanding work in the field of economics.

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