On Friday (October 9), The Nobel Committee announced the United Nation's World Food Programme (WFP) won this year's Nobel Peace Prize. The UN agency delivers food assistance to countries around the world, providing assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries just last year who were victims of food insecurity and hunger. While announcing the winner, the Nobel Committee said the WFP was chosen for the prize for its "efforts to combat hunger" and its "contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas."
Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said during a news conference in Oslo tht the committee wanted to "turn the eyes of the world to the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger." She also spoke about the "key role" the WFP plays in "multilateral co-operation in making food security an instrument of peace."
While the World Health Organization and climate activist Greta Thunberg were favorites to win this year, the Nobel Committee believes WFP's efforts only became more instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic. "The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger in the world," the committee wrote in a statement. "In the face of the pandemic, the World Food Programme has demonstrated an impressive ability to intensify its efforts."
WFP head David Beasley told the BBC he was in shock after hearing the news. "I was literally for the first time in my life without words," he said. "To receive this award is a recognition to the men and women at the World Food Programme who put their lives on the line every day for the struggling, suffering people around the world. So I hope this is a signal and a message that the World Food Programme is a role model and that we all have got to do more."