United Nations agency the World Food Programme has won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced in Oslo. The organization combats hunger around the world.
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme (WFP) in Oslo on Friday. The United Nations agency is the largest humanitarian organization in the world that addresses hunger and promotes food security.
“With this award, we wish to turn the world’s eyes to the millions of people who face hunger and food poverty,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the committee, announced.
In 2019, the WFP provided assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries who are the victims of acute food insecurity and hunger.
The WFP has also been instrumental in working to fight increased hunger caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Reiss-Andersen noted. Food insecurity is also a driving cause of conflict in the world, she pointed out.
“This is a proud moment,” a WFP spokesman, Tomson Phiri, said in Geneva. “This year we have gone over and above the call of duty,” he added, referring to the extra work undertaken by the agency in light of the pandemic.
“At one point we were the biggest airline in the world, when most if not all commercial airline ground to a halt,” he added.
“This is a powerful reminder to the world that peace and zero hunger go hand-in-hand,” the WFP wrote on Twitter.
This marks the 25th time an organization rather than an individual has been honored with the award, which has been presented 101 times since 1901.
The prize for peace differs from the other annual Nobel awards as it is awarded by the Norwegian rather than Swedish committee, as laid out in prize founder Alfred Nobel’s will.
There were 318 candidates, 211 individuals and 107 organizations. Nominations can be made by a select group, including national lawmakers, heads of state and certain international institutions. Nominees are kept secret for 50 years after the prize-giving.
Along with enormous prestige, the prize comes with a 10-million krona ($1.1 million) cash award and a gold medal to be handed out at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. This year’s ceremony will be scaled down due to the pandemic.
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.