The World Food Program (WFP), run by the United Nations food agency, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. They were recognized for their initiative which seeks to fight world hunger and improve tensions in high conflict areas. For this year’s Nobel Peace Prize there were 318 candidates, 211 individuals and 107 organizations that were considered for the award.
The WFP aims to deliver food materials to assist several countries around the world. The UN agency has stated that about one in nine people suffers from food insecurity globally. During the pandemic, they have sent out medical aid to more than 120 countries, in the hopes of minimizing the effects of COVID19. This organization has aided around 97 million people in 88 countries every year, supporting individuals suffering from hunger. In addition, the WFP has dispatched transport services for humanitarian and health workers who were unable to take commercial flights. The workers that are a part of this organization, provide support to those in need and have been affected by the pandemic. The WFP spokesperson in Geneva, Tomson Phiri stated that many of the workers were put on lockdown as they were dispatched to certain parts of the world earlier this year. He dedicated the award to those workers telling reporters that they “deserve this award.”
The UN has emphasized that the world is in “danger of experiencing a hunger crisis” and in need of financial support. There is a cash prize that comes with the award which is about $1.1 million USD. The UN creates the most demand for food supplies in the global market. The agency, however, has been faced with criticism that their food supply comes from local food markets that are already weak. They have tackled this issue by announcing that they will allow a 10% discount on the supplies that they purchase from local farms. Other allegations claim that their employees have been accused of inhumane practices such as theft or reselling food that was meant to be free. In addition, the workers are subject to dangerous conditions in order to carry out this initiative and many of them have lost their lives.
The chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss Anderson said that WFP can be seen as a resolution for social problems. This is because hunger can be used as a “weapon of war and conflict,” creating tensions among people. She stressed that the relevance of this issue is even more pressing due to the worldwide COVID19 pandemic. As a result, issues of hunger could almost double globally. She also stated that based on the WFP’s calculations, there could be 265 million people starving within this year.
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