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UN’s World Food Programme wins 2020 Nobel Peace Prize

The United Nations food agency, the World Food Programme (WFP), has won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger and improve conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas.

David Beasley
David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP)

The winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize was announced on Friday at 11 a.m. (0900 GMT) in Oslo by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. There were 318 candidates, 211 individuals and 107 organisations for the nomination.

The prize comes with a $1.1 million cash award and a gold medal which would be handed over at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on Dec. 10, 2020,  the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death.

The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine and Literature.

It has been awarded annually since March 1901,  to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

This year’s ceremony to hand over the prize will be on a low key due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Rome-based WFP, the programme helps some 97 million people in about 88 countries each year, and one in nine people worldwide still do not have enough to eat.

On Thursday, American poet Louise Gluck won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature for her ‘’candid and uncompromising ‘’ works exploring family and childhood in an “unmistakable…voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.

The chemistry prize on Wednesday went to scientists behind a powerful gene-editing tool.

Tuesday’s Nobel prize for physics honoured breakthroughs in understanding the mysteries of cosmic black holes and on Monday, the Nobel committee awarded the prize for physiology and medicine for discovering the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus.

Next week, the prize for outstanding work in the field of economics will be awarded.

Malala Yousafzai  of Pakistan is the youngest to have won the Nobel peace prize in 2014. She got the prize alongside  Kailash Satyarthi of India for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.

Africans who have won the Nobel peace prize include Albert Lutuli, South Africa, (1960);  Muhammad Anwar  el-Sadat, Egypt (1978); Desmond Tutu, South Africa,  (1984); Nelson Mandela  and  Frederick Williem de Klerk, South Africa (1993) and  Kofi Annan , Ghana (2001).

Others include Wangari Muta Maathai, Kenya (2004); Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt (2005); Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia (2011); Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (2015); Denis Mukwege, Democratic Republic of Congo (2018) and Abiy Ahmed of Ethopia in 2019.

Meanwhile, UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab has congratulated the WFP for winning the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, as he pledged the UK government’s continuous support to the UN body.

“Fantastic news to see the World Food Programme win the @NobelPrize,” Raab wrote on Twitter.

The UK foreign secretary added that “as the third biggest donor” to the WFP, the UK would continue to support their work around the world to save lives and stop starvation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded on Friday the 2020 Peace Prize to the food-assistance branch of the UN “for its efforts to combat hunger”.

And also 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.” 

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