27th September 2021

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United Nations World Food Program (WFP)

The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced on Friday the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to improving peace conditions in areas affected by conflicts and for acting as the engine of efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict ”.

  • WFP is the 28th organization to receive the Nobel Peace Prize since its inception in 1901.

What is WFP ?

  • It was created in 1961. The president of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower, then suggested the idea of ​​providing food aid through the United Nations system.
  • Months after its inception, WFP faced a humanitarian crisis when more than 12,000 people were killed in an earthquake in Boein Zahra, northern Iran. WFP shipped tons of wheat, sugar and tea.
  • Subsequently, it played an important role in providing food aid in Thailand and Algeria.
  • Details on WFP’s websites show that it launched its first development program in 1963 for the Nubians in Sudan.
  • The same year, WFP’s first school meals project was approved in Togo. Two years later, WFP has become a full United Nations program.
  • WFP is based in Rome, Italy. It is led by an Executive Council, which consists of 36 member states.
  • It is headed by an Executive Director, jointly appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The Executive Director is appointed for fixed terms of five years.

What is the scope of WFP’s work ?

  • Today, WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger.
  • In 2019, it helped 97 million people, the majority since 2012, in 88 countries, says WFP.
  • In the same year, it shipped about 4.4 million tons of food, bought $ 1.7 billion in food from 91 countries, and $ 762 million in goods and services from 156 countries.
  • Every day, WFP has 5,600 trucks, 30 ships and nearly 100 aircraft on the move, delivering food and other assistance to those who need it most.

“Each year, we distribute more than 15 billion servings at an estimated average cost per serving of $ 0.61. These numbers are the foundation of WFP’s unrivaled reputation as an emergency response, quickly getting to work on a large scale in the most challenging environments, ”

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  • WFP India said in a statement: “From the reconstruction of post-war South Korea in the late 1960s, to the emergency response after the genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda, the long-standing South Sudan and the most recent wars in Yemen and Syria, WFP is a constant presence for the poor and destitute, refugees and the dispossessed. “

Why does the world need a feeding program?

  • Eradicating hunger is one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030. WFP is the lead United Nations agency working to achieve this goal.
  • According to WFP, there are 690 million hungry people in the world and approximately 60% of them live in countries affected by conflict.
  • The number of hungry people is expected to increase further due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • WFP estimates suggest that by 2030, almost half of the world’s poor will live in situations of fragility and conflict.
  • It indicates that people living in countries facing protracted crises are more than twice as likely to be undernourished than others (2.5 times more).

What is the role of WFP in India?

  • WFP has been working in India since 1963, two years after its creation. In addition to focusing on specific public distribution system reforms, it provides political input, advocacy, and technical assistance to improve access to food.
  • WFP has proposed unique initiatives such as the automatic grain distributor (Annapurti) and mobile storage units for the effective implementation of the TPDS.
  • Annapurti allows beneficiaries to withdraw their quota of food grains precisely and at the time of their choosing. It can dispense two products at a rate of 25 kg every 1.3 minutes. It has a storage capacity of 200 kg to 500 kg.
  • According to WFP India, it has completed a pilot project on the fortification of rice used as part of the government lunch program in Varanasi.
  • Since December 2018, 4,145 tons of fortified rice have been produced and 300,000 schoolchildren fed, it says.
  • Even during the pandemic, WFP India worked with central and state governments. For example, They signed a memorandum of understanding with the Rural Livelihoods Mission of the State of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Under this agreement, WFP will provide technical assistance for the establishment of supplementary nutrition production units in 18 districts in order to provide quality food to some 33 lakh beneficiaries of the Anganwadi (Integrated Child Development Services) program. He also prepared a guidance note for reopening schools during the pandemic.

What did the Nobel committee say in awarding the prize ?

  • The Norwegian Nobel Committee highlighted WFP’s work to end hunger and underlined its role in the aftermath of the Covid-19 epidemic.
  • “The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a sharp increase in the number of hungry people around the world. In countries like Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Burkina Faso, the combination of violent conflict and a pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in the number of people on the brink of famine Said the Committee.
  • “In the face of the pandemic, the World Food Program has demonstrated an impressive capacity to step up its efforts. As the organization itself said, “Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos,” they said.
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