World Food Programme wins Nobel Peace Prize

UN body given award for its efforts in combating hunger globally.

The World Food Programme has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for efforts in fighting to end world hunger.

The WFP, a United Nations agency, has been heavily involved in a number of conflict zones across the Middle East, particularly Yemen.

Nobel committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said the organisation was awarded 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”.

“With this year’s award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to turn the eyes of the world towards the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger,” she added.

The organisation, founded in 1961, helped 97 million people last year, distributing 15 billion rations to people in 88 countries.

Starvation in Yemen

Much of the WFP’s work has focused on Yemen, where it has warned that two-thirds of Yemen’s 30 million people suffer from food insecurity.

Since 2015, a conflict between the Houthi movement and a Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen’s government has cost more than 100,000 lives and pushed the country to the verge of famine.

The UN body tries to feed 13 million people each month in the country. However, the WFP last year temporarily suspended deliveries to Houthi-held areas after accusations of diversion of food by the Houthis. Following this, the group dropped a threat to impose a tax on aid.

The coronavirus pandemic has also exacerbated global food insecurity, while the recession caused by the disease could push an additional 83 to 132 million people into hunger, according to a UN report published in July.

“The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger in the world,” the Nobel committee said.

“In countries such as Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Burkina Faso, the combination of violent conflict and the pandemic has led to a dramatic rise in the number of people living on the brink of starvation.”

Source: Middle East Monitor


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