On October 9th, it was reported that the World Food Programme, a program affiliated with the United Nations, received the 2020 Nobel Prize Award for their efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity around the globe, as stated by NBC News. The organization was rewarded 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,” said chair of the Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen. The United Nations World Food Programme was established in 1962 and since then, it has become the world’s largest humanitarian organization assisting countries with food supply to combat world hunger. The organization has assisted in providing food for 100 million people in 88 countries as of last year.
David Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Programme, was speechless upon hearing the news. Beasley informed that 135 million people have faced starvation from conflicts and climate and now 270 million people are facing starvation. He adds that the world hunger issue has been prominent, but once Covid-19 came into the picture, it became a “worse-case scenario” and “exacerbated problems.” According to Time, Mario Herrero, Chief Research Scientist in Agriculture and Food at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization states that climate change is the greatest long-term threat to global food security. Droughts and floods have been factors that disrupt the agricultural seasons in countries. Speaking on behalf of the award, he states, “The good news and the bad news is the fact that we are winning the award. But that means people are suffering around the world.”
Beasley was awarded with a $1.1 million cash prize for his efforts as well as a gold medal that will be given to him at Oslo, Norway on December 10th at the Nobel Prize Ceremony. He told ABC News that he will use the money to continue to sustain the program in 2021.
Ultimately, he hopes to draw attention to the food scarcity issue as well as encourage others to act upon the issue. When accepting his honor, he stated, “It is indeed an honor to receive this award, as an inspiration to others to step up and help people around the world, because quite frankly this is a very tragic time in world history.”