The UN’s World Food Programme (WPF), the world’s largest humanitarian organisation addressing hunger and promoting food security, has won this year’s prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.
It was chosen for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas, and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Beriit Reiss-Andersen said: “In 2019, the WFP provided assistance to close to 100m 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, 135m people suffered from acute hunger, the highest number in many years. Most of the increase was caused by war and armed conflict.
“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.”
The organisation joins the ranks of previous winners including Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter and Mikhail Gorbachev.
Since 1901, 100 Nobel Peace Prizes have been handed out, to individuals and 24 organisations. While the other prizes are announced in Stockholm, the peace prize is awarded in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
In his will, Alfred Nobel, the Swedish industrialist and inventor of dynamite, decided the peace prize should be awarded in Oslo. His exact reasons for having an institution in Norway handing out that prize is unclear, but during his lifetime Sweden and Norway were joined in a union, which was dissolved in 1905.
US president Donald Trump had also been among the 210 people and 107 organisations that were nominated.