The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the United Nations (UN) World Food Programme (WFP).
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that the World Food Programme won the award "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".
The committee said that it wanted to "turn the eyes of the world to the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger" and that it recognises the World Food Programme as “a modern version of the peace congresses that the Nobel Peace Prize is intended to promote.”
In awarding the prize to WFP the committee has acknowledged that providing assistance to increase food secuirity not only prevents hunger but also assists in improving prospects for peace and stability. In May 2018, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2417 which explicitly addresses the linkages between conflict and hunger. The resolution underscores the obligation of Member States to ensure that food assistance reaches those in need and condemns the use of starvation as a method of warfare.
“Every one of the 690 million hungry people in the world today has the right to live peacefully and without hunger,” said WFP’s Executive Director David Beasley, in response to the announcement. “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has turned the global spotlight on them and on the devastating consequences of conflict.
“Climate shocks and economic pressures have further compounded their plight. And now, a global pandemic with its brutal impact on economies and communities, is pushing millions more to the brink of starvation,” Beasley added.
WFP reached 97 million people with food assistance last year. In June 2020, it issued a call for US$4.9 billion to reach up to 138 million people.