by Miceál O’Hurley
Minister for Overseas Development Aid and the Diaspora, Colm Brophy T.D., today congratulated David Beasley and his team at the World Food Programme on their deserved receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Minister Colm Brophy Congratulates UN Agency and Nobel Peace Prize Winner – World Food Programme
“It is fitting that the World Food Programme, an essential part of the United Nations Humanitarian System, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Its work, in places at war or at risk in other ways, is lifesaving, feeding tens of millions of people every day,” said Brophy. “COVID-19 is complicating its already challenging mission, doubling the numbers of those short of food in only a few months. WFP has responded strongly, not just feeding people but also providing the logistics backbone for global efforts, ensuring that emergency supplies and aid workers can get to where they are most needed.”
Today’s announcement that the World Food Programme had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat a surge in global hunger amid the coronavirus pandemic signaled the universal recognition of the additional toll the Covid-19 Pandemic has wrought. Beyond the perennial stressors of war, armed conflict, drought and climate change that cause significant and persistent hunger and death, some 1,067,530 people have died from Covid-19, a pandemic which creates significant obstacles for delivering supports. The Nobel committee indicated World Food Programme, a United Nations agency, in addressing hunger was a crucial element in forging peace in nations ravaged by war. “In the face of the pandemic, the World Food Program has demonstrated an impressive ability to intensify its efforts,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said when announcing the prize in Oslo. “The combination of violent conflict and the pandemic has led to a dramatic rise in the number of people living on the brink of starvation,” she added.
Life Threatening Hunger Expected to Double During Pandemic
Those nations who are most vulnerable, especially those experiencing armed conflict during the pandemic, has pushed the number of humans on the brink of starvation to near record levels. The World Food Programme estimates that those experiencing life-threatening food insecurity may well double this year to 265 million people. The number of people facing acute food insecurity (IPC/CH 3 or worse) stands to rise to 265 million in 2020, up by 130 million from the 135 million in 2019, as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19, according to a WFP projection. The estimate was announced alongside the release of the Global Report on Food Crises, produced by WFP and 15 other humanitarian and development partners.
In this context, it is vital that food assistance programme be maintained, including World Food Programme’s own efforts, offer a basic lifeline to almost 100 million vulnerable people globally.
- Some 265 million people in low and middle-income countries will be in acute food insecurity by the end of 2020 unless swift action is taken (source: WFP projection).
- The majority of people suffering acute food insecurity in 2019 were in countries affected by conflict (77 million), climate change (34 million) and economic crises (24 million people). (source: Global Report on Food Crises).
- 10 countries constituted the worst food crises in 2019: Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, the Sudan, Nigeria and Haiti. (source: Global Report on Food Crises).
- South Sudan had 61 percent of its population in a state of food crisis (or worse) in 2019. Six other countries also had at least 35 percent of their populations in a state of food crisis: Sudan, Yemen, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Syrian Arab Republic and Haiti. (source: Global Report on Food Crises).
- These ten countries accounted for 66 percent of the total population in Crisis or worse (IPC/CH Phase 3 or above) or 88 million people. (source: Global Report on Food Crises).
UN’s World Food Programme – A Snapshot
The World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading humanitarian organization saving lives and changing lives, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.
As the international community has committed to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition by 2030, one in nine people worldwide still do not have enough to eat. Food and food-related assistance lie at the heart of the struggle to break the cycle of hunger and poverty.
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, WFP was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.
In 2019, WFP assisted97 million people– the largest number since 2012 – in 88 countries.
On any given day, WFP has 5,600 trucks, 30 ships and nearly 100 planes on the move, delivering food and other assistance to those in most need. Every year, we distribute more than 15 billion rations at an estimated average cost per ration of US $ 0.61. These numbers lie at the roots of WFP’s unparalleled reputation as an emergency responder, one that gets the job done quickly at scale in the most difficult environments.
WFP’s efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations. Two-thirds of our work is in conflict-affected countries where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries without conflict.
Ireland Provides Significant Supports to UN Agency – World Food Programme
Ireland has provided over €25 million in support for World Food Programme’s humanitarian work so far in 2020, comprising core funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine complemented by country specific responses in Irish Aid programme countries. “Combatting hunger and malnutrition is a key part of Irish Aid’s work,” added Brophy. “I am proud of our strong partnership with the WFP and congratulate its head, David Beasley, together with his hardworking teams across the world. Well done. Your success is well earned, and a reminder too of the essential role which the multilateral system plays in promoting food security and peace.”
* Statistical Data provided by United Nations World Food Programme