Context: The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize went to the UN agency World Food Programme (WFP) for its efforts to combat hunger.
More on the news:
- The WFP through its contribution has bettered 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 WFP is the 28th organisation awarded the Nobel Peace Prize since its inception in 1901.
- Established in 1961: Then US President Dwight Eisenhower had suggested the idea of providing food aid through the UN system.
- Headquarter: Rome, Italy.
- Governed by: An Executive Board, which consists of 36 member states. It is headed by an Executive Director, who is appointed jointly by the UN Secretary-General and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The Executive Director is appointed for fixed five-year terms.
- Role: From the rebuilding of postwar South Korea in the late 1960s, through the emergency response after genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda, the long-running conflict in South Sudan and the more recent wars in Yemen and Syria, WFP has been a constant presence for the poor and the destitute, refugees and the dispossessed.
- Scale of its work: Today, the WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency combating hunger having an unparalleled reputation as an emergency responder.
- Need of a world food programme:
- Eradicating hunger: According to the WFP, there are 690 million hungry people around the world and around 60% of them live in countries affected by conflict.
- The WFP is the UN’s primary agency that works towards this goal, which is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030.
- Covid-19 pandemic: The number of hungry people is expected to increase further due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- WFP’s role in India: The WFP has been working in India since 1963, two years after its establishment. Apart from focusing on reforms in the Targeted Public Distribution System (TDPS), it provides policy inputs, advocacy and technical assistance for improving access to food.
- Automatic Grain Dispensing Machine (Annapurti): The WFP has proposed some unique initiatives like Annapurti and Mobile Storage Units for the effective implementation of TPDS.
Annapurti allows beneficiaries to withdraw their foodgrain quota accurately and at a time of their choice. It can dispense two commodities at a speed of 25 kg per 1.3 minutes. It has a storage capacity of 200 kg to 500 kg.
- Rice fortification: According to WFP India, it has completed a pilot on rice fortification used in the government’s Mid-day Meals scheme in Varanasi.
- During the pandemic: WFP India has worked with the central and state governments. For instance, it signed an MoU with the Uttar Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission.
Nobel Peace Prize
- The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor, and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel.
- Since 1901, it has been awarded annually 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.
- The recipient is selected by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, a five-member committee appointed by the Parliament of Norway.
- Due to its political nature, the Nobel Peace Prize has, for most of its history, been the subject of numerous controversies.