The World Food Program, a United Nations agency that battles hunger and food insecurity around the world, has won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.
The WFP, which feeds more than 90 million people a year, earned the highly coveted 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 Nobel Committee’s chair, Berit Reiss-Andersen, said Friday.
“The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger in the world,” she said.
“In the face of the pandemic, the World Food Program has demonstrated an impressive ability to intensify its efforts.”
Reiss-Andersen cited the WFP’s work during the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused millions around the world to go hungry. “As the organization itself has stated: Until the day we have a vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos,” Reiss-Andersen said.
The WFP, which is funded entirely by voluntary donations, will receive a cash prize of $1.1 million. “This is a powerful reminder to the world that peace and #ZeroHunger go hand-in-hand,” the WFP said in a statement Friday morning thanking the committee for the award.
One of the world’s most famous — and at times controversial — awards, the Nobel Peace Prize has been handed out more than 100 times, going back to 1901. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won last year for helping to “achieve peace and international cooperation” with neighbor Eritrea. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who won in 2016, has said that the accolade had helped him achieve the “impossible dream” of ending his country’s decadeslong civil war.