The Nobel Peace Prize 2020 was awarded to World Food Programme (WFP), which operated in 88 countries during 2019, delivering 4.2 million metric tons of food and $2.1 billion (U.S.) of cash and vouchers so food could be obtained closer to where it was distributed.
WFP is a program of the United Nations and an integral element of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The program has a U.S.-based arm that is expected to raise between $25 million and $30 million during 2020.
According to announcement, “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 to the World Food Programme (WFP) 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.”
The connection between hunger and conflict were noted in the announcement. “The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to emphasise (cq) that providing assistance to increase food security not only prevents hunger, but can also help to improve prospects for stability and peace. The World Food Programme has taken the lead in combining humanitarian work with peace efforts through pioneering projects in South America, Africa and Asia.”
David Beasley, the program’s executive director, Tweeted multiple times upon the announcement. “This is the first time in my life I have been speechless,” he Tweeted. “We are deeply humbled to receive the #NobelPeacePrize. This is an incredible recognition of the dedication of the @WFP family, working to end hunger every day in 80+ countries. Thank you @NobelPrize for this incredible honor.”
Continuing to message via Twitter, he praised the workers with boots on the ground. See his Twitter reaction here https://bit.ly/33GN5ey “It’s been an amazing past few hours. These are just some of the brave women & men who have committed their lives to achieving a world without hunger. Together with the @WFP team in Niger, we say thank you! @NobelPrize ! #NobelPeacePrize2020.”
The WFP was cited as “an active participant in the diplomatic process that culminated in May 2018 in the UN Security Council’s unanimous adoption of Resolution 2417, which for the first time explicitly addressed the link between conflict and hunger. The Security Council also underscored UN Member States’ obligation to help ensure that food assistance reaches those in need, and condemned the use of starvation as a method of warfare.”
The statement from the Nobel committee concluded: “The work of the World Food Programme to the benefit of humankind is an endeavour (cq) that all the nations of the world should be able to endorse and support.”
In 2019, WFP assisted 97 million people, the largest number since 2012, in 88 countries. According to the organization, on any given day, WFP has 5,600 trucks, 30 ships and nearly 100 planes on the move. Every year, it distributes more than 15 billion rations at an estimated average cost per ration of just 61 cents (U.S.).
WFP’s efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development and special operations. Two-thirds of the work is in conflict-affected countries where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries without conflict. WFP is governed by a 36-member executive board. It works closely with its two Rome-based sister organizations, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. WFP partners with more than 1,000 national and international NGOs to provide food assistance and tackle the underlying causes of hunger.