The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize has been won by the United Nations’ agency World Food Programme (WFP) for its efforts in tackling hunger and promoting global peace. The Nobel Committee while announcing the winner recognised WFP for its efforts to “combat hunger, 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”.
Food plays an important role in securing global peace and has been used as a weapon of war in conflict-prone areas. Close to 800 million people are affected by hunger globally every year and in April WFP warned that the Covid-19 pandemic would exacerbate the situation if action wasn’t taken in time.
The UN agency was established in 1961 through the efforts of US President Dwight Eisenhower to deliver food aid through the UN system. According to the agency’s website, it assisted close to 100 million people in 88 countries in 2019, the largest number since 2012. Most of its efforts have been directed to countries affected by conflicts and natural disasters such as Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Haiti, South Sudan among others.
The Nobel Peace Prize is of the most prestigious global awards. Last year it was awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his brokering a peace deal that ended a two-decade military conflict with Eritrea. Other previous winners are former US Presidents Barack Obama (2009), Jimmy Carter (2002), Pakistani Education Activist Malala Yousafzai (joint 2014), former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (joint 2001) , Mother Teresa (1979), Wangari Maathai (2004), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (joint 2011) among others.
The prize comes with a cash award and a gold medal which are handed in Oslo, Norway on 10th December during the anniversary of the founder Alfred Nobel. Winners deliver a lecture while receiving the award. This week the winners of the Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Literature prizes were also announced and on Monday another key one in the field of Economics will be made.