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The World Food Programme (WFP) which provides life-saving food assistance to millions across the world – often in extremely dangerous and hard-to-access conditions, on Friday emerged the winners of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

Chairperson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, said at the Nobel Institute in Oslo that  the United Nations (UN) agency was chosen for the award for “acting as a driving force to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict” and for its efforts to combat hunger and improve conditions for peace in conflict-prone areas.

She said the committee preferred the WFP because it wanted to “turn the eyes of the world to the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger.”

The award, according to her, is also a call to the international community to fund the agency adequately and to ensure people are not starving.

The chairperson said the WFP would still have been a worthy recipient of the prize without the coronavirus pandemic.

“The virus has strengthened the reasons for giving it to the WFP, including the need for multilateralism in a time of global crisis.

“It’s a very important UN organisation. The UN plays a key role in upholding human rights. Food is one of our most basic needs,” she said.

The WFP is the largest humanitarian organisation in the world, assisting 97 million people in 88 countries in 2019.

Its efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations.

The WFP, established in 1961 with headquarters in Rome, Italy, has joined the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Labour Organisation and the UN Children’s Fund, as Nobel Peace Prize laureates.

Other UN agencies on the list are the UN Peacekeeping, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the UN itself.

A former UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, and former Under-Secretary-General, Ralph Bunche, are also Nobel laureates.

…Congratulates agency

By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has described the 2020 Nobel Prize for Peace win by the World Food Programme (WFP) as well deserved honour for the organisation.

The President, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the award had recognised the United Nations (UN) foremost agency’s efforts at promoting food security.

“President Muhammadu Buhari congratulates the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on winning the 2020 Nobel Prize for Peace.

“President Buhari believes that the award is a well-deserved honour for the frontline UN agency at the forefront of addressing hunger and promoting food security.

“The Nigerian President appreciates the tireless work of the WFP in providing the needed succour to vulnerable and displaced persons in North-Eastern Nigeria, paying tribute to all brave humanitarian workers who lost their lives in the service of humanity.

“The President notes that the award, coming on the heels of the event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, will continue to spur the women and men of the WFP working in very difficult terrains to continue to respond to the numerous challenges facing the world”, the statement said.

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