Due to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, the head of the World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley will not be travelling to Oslo in December to pick the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Foundation on November 18 said that the organisation is considering the possibility of holding a digital award ceremony where the WFP will be presented with the medal and diploma. The foundation added that the traditional Nobel lecture and banquet had been postponed until next year.
”With the current restrictions in Oslo, it would not be possible to carry out the ceremony or other parts of the laureate’s traditional program in a good and worthy manner,” the Nobel Committee said in a statement.
Last month, the Norwegian Nobel Committee had awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nation’s WFP. The Committee had highlighted WFP’s role in multilateral cooperation on making food security an instrument of peace. The committee said in a statement that it wishes to turn the eyes of the world towards the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger.
According to the committee, the award was being presented to WFP "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 World Food Programme is especially known for its work to combat hunger in conflict-affected areas. The United Nations food relief agency said that WFP’s recognition is a powerful reminder to the world that “peace and zero hunger go hand-in-hand.” WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation addressing hunger and promoting food security.
The WFP combines humanitarian work along with its aim to ensure peace in such war-torn regions for without tackling war, hunger can not be eradicated. As per the WFP, nearly 60 per cent of the world’s hunger come from war-torn countries. In 2019, about 135 million people suffered from acute hunger, the highest number in many years. The COVID-19 pandemic has only contributed to the upsurge in global hunger. Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, victims to violent conflicts, have also been witnessing a rise in starvation, informed the Chair.
"Where there is conflict, there is hunger. And where there is hunger, there is often conflict. Today is a reminder that food security, peace and stability go together. Without peace, we cannot achieve our global goal of zero hunger; and while there is hunger, we will never have a peaceful world," said WFP Executive Director David Beasley in a statement.