The World Food Programme (WFP) is the Nobel Peace Prize winner for 2020. It was announced by the Norwegian Nobel Committee today.
The World Food Programme won the prestigious award “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.”
What is WFP?
The World Food Programme or the WFP is a global body affiliated to the United Nations. Its objective is to alleviate hunger from the world.
It was established by the United Nations in 1961 to fight global hunger. Its headquarters are in Rome, Italy.
It runs various programmes to achieve its aim of helping more than 15 per cent of the world’s population that is facing hunger.
How does it help?
The WFP’s Food-For-Life programme is aimed at helping the victims of natural and human-made disasters by collecting and transporting food to crisis areas. It accepts contributions of commodities, cash, and services to help beneficiaries to maintain balanced diets.
Its Food-for-Growth programmes are directed at vulnerable groups, with special focus on children, pregnant and nursing women, and the elderly.
Its Food-For-Work programme is aimed at promoting self-reliance by providing food in return for labour to targeted groups of people worldwide.
What is its global reach?
According to the WFP website, the organisation assisted 97 million people the largest number since 2012 in 88 countries in 2019. This makes the World Food Programme the leading humanitarian organisation in the world.
The website says it works to save lives and change lives by delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.
How much does it serve?
The WFP says it has 5,600 trucks, 30 ships and nearly 100 planes on the move on any given day 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 (Rs 45 approx). 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,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner says on its website.
What are its goals?
The WFP is working to meet the goals that various international organisation linked to the UN have committed themselves to. These include ending hunger by 2030, achieving food security and improving nutrition.
It estimates that one in nine persons worldwide still does 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, the WFP says.
What are the focus regions of its work?
The WFP works throughout the world and its efforts are directed towards areas facing an emergency situation or needing emergency assistance in terms of relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations.
However, in general, around two-thirds of the entire work performed by the WFP is in conflict-affected countries. These are the areas where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries without conflict, the WFP estimates.
What else does it do?
The WFP says its workers are often the first ones to reach on the scene of need, providing food assistance to the victims of war, civil conflict, drought, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, crop failures and natural disasters.
Once the emergency subsides, the WFP helps communities rebuild their lives and livelihoods. “We also work to strengthen the resilience of people and communities affected by protracted crises by applying a development lens in our humanitarian response,” it says.
The WFP development projects focus on improving nutrition, especially for mothers and children. Special attention is given to addressing malnutrition from the earliest stages through programmes targeting the first 1,000 days from conception to a child’s second birthday.
It also works to ensure good nutrition to growing children through school meals. In 2019, the WFP provided school meals to more than 17.3 million children in 50 countries.
Who runs WFP?
The WFP is affiliated to the United Nations. It is governed by a 36-member executive board, which works in close association with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) both organs of the UN and based out of Rome.
The WFP is funded entirely by voluntary contributions, which provide money for all its relief and aid works, and also the salaries of more than 17,000 staff worldwide.