UN chief Antonio Guterres congratulated the United Nations' World Food Programme for winning this year's Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, lauding the women and men of the specialised agency of the world body for braving danger and distance to deliver life-saving sustenance to those devastated by conflict, disaster and poverty.
The Rome-headquartered World Food Programme (WFP), which provides lifesaving food assistance to millions across the world often in extremely dangerous and hard-to-access conditions was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in Oslo.
The agency was recognised "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 to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict," said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
UN Secretary-General Guterres warmly congratulated WFP Executive Director David Beasley and the entire staff of the agency for advancing the values of the United Nations every day and serving the cause of "we the peoples" as the organisation marks its 75th anniversary year.
"I am delighted by the decision of the Nobel Committee to award this year's Prize for Peace to the United Nations World Food Programme. The World Food Programme is the world's first responder on the frontlines of food insecurity," Guterres said.
He said the women and men of the WFP brave danger and distance to deliver life-saving sustenance to those devastated by conflict, to people suffering because of disaster, to children and families uncertain about their next meal.
"In a world of plenty, it is unconscionable that hundreds of millions go to bed each night hungry. Millions more are now on the precipice of famine due to the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
Guterres said there was also hunger in the world for international cooperation and the World Food Programme feeds that need as well.
"WFP operates above the realm of politics, with humanitarian need driving its operations," Guterres said, adding that the organisation itself survives on voluntary contributions from the UN Member States and the public at large.
"Such solidarity is precisely needed now to address not only the pandemic but other global tests of our time. We know that existential threats such as the climate change will make the hunger crisis even worse," he said. WFP is the largest humanitarian organisation in the world. Last year, it assisted 97 million people in 88 countries.
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