For its efforts to combat hunger and its contribution to 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 Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 to the World Food Programme (WFP).
What’s a Nobel Prize? It is a set of 5 prizes that are awarded to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. These have been laid in the will of Alfred Nobel from 1895. Nobel Prizes are awarded in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace. Nobel prizes are widely regarded as the most prestigious awards available in their respective fields.
Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist, engineer, and industrialist most famously known for the invention of dynamite. He died in 1896 and bequeathed all of his remaining assets to establish the 5 prizes which became known as Nobel Prizes. Nobel Prizes were first awarded in 1901.
World Food Programme-
·established in 1961 at the behest of the US president Dwight Eisenhower
·it is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation committed towards its global goal of ending hunger by the year 2030.
·In 2015 when eradication of world hunger became one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), WFP became UN’s primary instrument in achieving that goal.
·WFP runs entirely on public donations and was able to raise over $8 billion last year. Its donors include governments, corporations and individuals.
·WFP provides food assistance in two ways: either by way of providing food; or by meeting people’s food-needs by providing cash-based transfers. The cash-based transfers were launched for the first time in 2005 in response to the tsunami in Sri Lanka.
·In 2019, WFP provided assistance to around 100 million people spread across 88 countries by supplying them with over 4.2 million metric tonnes of food and $1.2 billion in cash and vouchers
·The organisation estimates hunger the UN definition of undernourishment - those individuals whose food intake falls below the minimum level of dietary energy requirements. The energy requirement is the amount of energy from food required to balance energy expenditure in order to maintain body-weight, body composition and a level of necessary and desirable physical activity that is consistent with long-term good health
WFP has been working in India since 1963 where it has focused upon reforms in the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and provided policy inputs, advocacy and technical assistance for improving access to food. The WFP has proposed unique initiatives like Automatic Grain Dispensing Machine (Annapurti) and Mobile Storage Units for the effective implementation of TPDS. It is also working with the government to improve the nutritional value of the Midday Meal programme and is using its own software called the Vulnerability and Analysis Mapping to identify the most food insecure groups in the country.
(Sources: nobelprize.org / indianexpress.com)