The World Food Program Wins the Nobel Peace Prize. These Two Podcast Episodes Take You Inside the Work of the WFP

The World Food Program was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize “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 honor is well deserved. Food insecurity around the world has never been as bad as it is today. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, 2020 was shaping up to be a very tough year. In January this year, I spoke with Arif Husain, the Chief Economist and Director of the Food Security Analysis and Trends Service at the World Food Programme. He explained how the toxic mix of climate change, conflict and displacement was driving up food prices around the world and leaving millions of people unable to access the food they need to survive.

Then COVID hit, and numbers that were already dire nearly doubled.

You can listen to this conversation with the Chief Economist of the WFP to get a sense of the context in which WFP was operating before the pandemic hit.

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Conferring the Nobel Peace Prize on the World Food Program at this moment in history is an important statement of global solidarity.

Today, about a quarter of a billion people are food insecure, which is up from about 130 million people from the year prior.

Hunger and food insecurity is a global problem that requires multi-lateral cooperation to confront. The WFP is the UN agency that supports both emergency relief and also building resilience to food shocks among communities at the front lines of a climate-conflict-food security nexus. It is because of international cooperation facilitated by the World Food Program that 138 million people around the world know they can access their next meal.

Two years ago, I spoke with the head of the World Food Program David Beasley shortly after he returned from a trip to the Sahel region of Africa and North Korea. These are two of the most food insecure regions on the planet and also places that are notoriously difficult (and dangerous) to access for humanitarian officials. Our conversation gives listeners and inside view of how the work of the World Food Program supports vulnerable populations on the front lines of climate change and conflict.

 

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The World Food Program is now the fifth UN entity to the win the Nobel Peace Prize this century.

The decision to award the World Food Program the Nobel Peace prize is an important recognition that platforms for multi-lateral cooperation on common global challenges are essential for advancing global peace and security.

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