This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Program (WFP) for its efforts to fight hunger and improve conditions for peace in conflict zones, the Nobel Committee said on Friday.
WFP is praised for “its efforts to combat hunger, to contribute to improving conditions in conflict-affected areas and to act as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict,” the committee said.
“With this year’s award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wants to turn a blind eye to the millions of people who suffer or are at risk of starvation,” said committee chair Berita Reisa-Andersen.
WFP chief David Bisley said the Nobel Peace Prize “will inspire us to do more”.
“We’re not going to bed every night thinking about the people we’ve saved, we’re going to sleep thinking about the people we haven’t been to because of money or lack of access,” Bysley said.
“I hope, I really hope that this award, this award, will make many in the world realize that people are still going to bed hungry every night and dying of starvation,” Bysley said.
“This is a moment of glory,” Thomson Piri, a spokesman for the organization, told WFP after announcing the award.
“This year, we went beyond our responsibilities,” said Piri, noting that WFP continued the flow of international aid despite pandemic quarantines and transport restrictions.
Delivering food by helicopter, or on the back of an elephant or camel, WFP is proud to be the “leading humanitarian organization” in the world, where it estimates that approximately 690 million people go to bed on an empty stomach.
Founded in 1961, the United Nations has helped 97 million people last year by distributing 15 billion rations of food to 88 countries.
Experts warn that, despite progress over the past three decades, the UN’s goal of eradicating hunger by 2030 seems unattainable if current trends continue.
The Peace Prize Committee had a selection of 318 applicants this year, including 211 individuals and 107 organizations, and was the fourth largest number of candidates since 1901.
Bookmakers had predicted that 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Tunberg or the World Health Organization had the best chance of receiving this prestigious award this year for its efforts to stop the coronavirus pandemic.
Democracy activists in Hong Kong and former US intelligence officer Edward Snowouden are also nominated for the award.
The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed for his contribution to resolving a long-running border dispute with neighboring Eritrea.
This year’s Nobel Prize season will end next Monday, when the winner of the award in the economy will be announced.