The Norwegian Nobel Committee has announced this Friday the Nobel Peace Prize, one of the most prominent among these awards, which this 2020 has gone to the World Food Program (WFP) of the United Nations (UN), based in Rome. They were not expecting it, they say in the agency’s Madrid office, but the news has been received with joy. “WFP is deeply honored to receive the # NobelPeacePrize2020. This is a recognition of the work of the staff who risk their lives every day to bring food and assistance to more than 100 million children, women and men who suffer from hunger around the world ”, read their Twitter account.
María Gallar, WFP communication manager in Chad, has been caught working with the ad. “I was on a call organizing a conference for the resilience program that we have here,” he says by phone. In those, a Google alert has reached your phone. “I did not believe it and I have consulted various media to conform it,” she adds excitedly. “We are extremely happy. This not only recognizes our work, but also that of the organizations we work with. For example, here in Chad, with 50. Through them we reach a lot more people. This is how we contribute to peace. We always say that hunger is the cause and effect of conflicts; and we take food wherever there is, “he says.
“The need for international solidarity and multilateral cooperation is more evident than ever”, has valued the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The recognition of the World Food Program highlights its work “to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of wars and conflicts.” The jury has underlined that the eradication of hunger is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2019, there were 135 million people in a situation of acute food insecurity, “the highest number in many years.” With the coronavirus pandemic, that number doubled to 260 million at the end of this year, according to the WFP itself in a recent study.
Covid-19 has contributed to the “drastic rebound” in the number of hunger victims, according to the Committee, which recognizes the “impressive capacity” of the Program to also act in the midst of a health emergency. “The world is at risk of a food crisis of inconceivable proportions if WFP and other aid organizations do not receive the financial support they need,” the committee warned.
“This is a very special year to receive this award. We have seen how our teams have worked during the worst moments of the pandemic supporting people who are starving ”, acknowledges Lola Castro, regional director for South Africa. The award will also help to make this work visible in the countries of the North, where the main donors to WFP are located. “Right now, operations have millions of deficits; the award is not going to cover it, but it helps us get our work and message across. “
In this edition, there was no clear candidate to receive the award. Among the finalists were the World Health Organization (WHO), Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg and also Reporters Without Borders. Finally, WFP has been chosen to receive this recognition that last year went to Ethiopian President Abiy Ahmed. The delivery will be on December 10, anniversary of the death of the founder of these distinctions, Alfred Nobel. The format will be different from other years for health reasons. The organizers have decided to move the delivery ceremony from the Oslo City Hall, which has hosted it since 1990, to the University Hall, a smaller venue but which was already the scene of this act between 1947 and 1989.