Nobel Peace Prize his year’s has been awarded to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), commending its efforts to combat world hunger. The UN body was also praised for bettering conditions for peace and preventing the use of hunger as a weapon of war. The Nobel Committee said the WFP’s work was an endeavor that all the nations of the world should be able to endorse and support.
More About UN World Food Program
- Founded in 1961, the WFP delivers food assistance to vulnerable communities, particularly those affected by war.
- It was created at the behest of the administration of US President Dwight D Eisenhower to provide food aid through the UN system, which was still in its infancy. The programme has intervened in several global emergencies since. Last year alone, the WFP said it assisted 97 million people across 88 countries.
- Governments are the principle source of its funding – its largest donations coming from the US, Germany and the UK. Money is also given to the WFP from corporations and individuals.
- The programme’s overarching goal is to bolster peace and stability by promoting food security and improved nutrition. To this end the WFP is involved with a range of projects, including ones to strengthen food supply chains, local markets and resilience to local climate risks.
- Two of its main current areas of work are:
. Yemen: The WFP feeds 13 million people – almost half of Yemen’s population – as the country grapples with civil war and endemic poverty. It says it urgently needs more than $500m ($385m) to ensure uninterrupted food assistance until March 2021.
. South Sudan: Since gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, areas of South Sudan have been racked by hunger and poverty, spurred by inter-ethnical violence. The WFP provides food aid to half a million people, cash assistance, school meals and treatment for malnutrition.
- Despite its latest accolade from the Nobel Prize Committee, the WFP has been under the spotlight in the past – not always for positive reasons. Early in its history, the group was also accused of bolstering the US economy by buying its produce. The WFP has since tried to strike a balance between purchasing locally and avoiding any potential inflation of food prices.
- WFP is governed by a 36-member Executive Board. It works closely with its two Rome-based sister organizations, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. WFP partners with more than 1,000 national and international NGOs to provide food assistance and tackle the underlying causes of hunger.
- WFP raised a record-breaking US$8 billion in 2019. WFP has more than 17,000 staff worldwide of whom over 90% are based in the countries where the agency provides assistance.