Reiss-Andersen said the committee presented the award to WFP because it wanted to “turn the eyes of the world to the millions of people who suffer or are at risk of hunger.” Hunger, she said, was used as a “weapon of war and conflict”.
The award was also a call to the international community to adequately fund the United Nations agency and to ensure that people do not starve, she said. She said WFP would have been a worthy recipient of the award had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic. But the virus had reinforced the reasons for giving it to WFP, including the need for “multilateralism” in this time of global crisis.
“It is a very important United Nations organization. The United Nations plays a key role in upholding human rights, ”she said, adding:“ Food is one of our most basic needs. ”
In its quote, the committee commended WFP for its “efforts to fight hunger” and its “contribution to building peace in conflict areas”. The agency has acted “as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict,” he said.
This year, 318 applicants were under consideration, 211 individuals and 107 organizations.
Other personalities considered shortlisted for this year’s award include Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 17, dissident and opposition leader Alexei Navalny, recovering from a nerve agent attack which he attributes to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the World Health Organization for his role in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
US President Donald Trump has said he should have won last year’s Peace Prize, awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, after he struck a peace deal with Eritrea.
Trump was nominated for the 2021 award, according to the White House, for negotiating a deal that saw the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain normalize their relations with Israel.
Reiss-Andersen, who arrived at the Oslo City Hall ceremony on crutches, made no mention of Trump. But she said that the UN’s “universalism” and its human rights work everywhere was in contrast to the “populism” and “nationalist politics” prevalent in some countries.
One hundred Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded since 1901 to individuals and 24 organizations. While the other Nobel Prize winners are announced in Stockholm, the Peace Prize is awarded in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
Along with enormous prestige, the award comes with a cash prize of 10 million crowns (£ 870,000) and a gold medal to be presented at a ceremony in Oslo on December 10, the founder’s birthday of the prize, the death of Alfred Nobel. This year’s ceremony will be reduced due to the pandemic.
Nominations can be made by a select group, including national legislators, heads of state and some international institutions.
On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the Physiology and Medicine Prize for the discovery of the hepatitis C virus that ravages the liver. Tuesday’s physics prize recognized breakthroughs in understanding the mysteries of cosmic black holes, and Wednesday’s chemistry prize went to the scientists behind a powerful gene-editing tool. The literature prize was awarded Thursday to the American poet Louise Glück for her “frank and uncompromising” work.
Still to come next week, the award for outstanding work in the field of economics.