The United Nations' World Food Programme has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity around the globe.
The organisation provided assistance to almost 100 million people in 88 countries around the world last year.
“I think this is the first time in my life I've been without words," WFP’s head David Beasley told The Associated Press from Niger. "I was just so shocked and surprised.”
The Nobel Committee said that the coronavirus pandemic has added to the hunger faced by millions of people around the world, and called on governments to ensure that WFP and other aid organisations receive the financial support necessary to feed them.
Threat of hunger
“With this year’s award, the (Committee) wishes to turn the eyes of the world to the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Nobel Committee, announcing the award in Oslo. “The World Food Programme plays a key role in multilateral cooperation in making food security an instrument of peace.”
“The World Food Programme contributes daily to advancing the fraternity of nations mentioned in Alfred Nobel’s will,” she said.
There was no shortage of causes or candidates on this year’s list, with 211 individuals and 107 organisations nominated ahead of the Feb. 1 deadline, including environmental activist Greta Thunberg, US President Donald Trump and the World Health Organisation.
However, the Norwegian Nobel Committee maintains absolute secrecy about whom it favours for arguably the world’s most prestigious prize.
The award comes with a 10-million krona (1 million Euro) cash prize and a gold medal to be handed out at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death. This year’s ceremony will be scaled down due to the pandemic.