The United Nations food-assistance initiative World Food Program was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger and prevent it from being used as a weapon of war and conflict.
On Friday the Norwegian Nobel Committee presented the award to WFP in Oslo.
"With this year’s award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to turn the eyes of the world towards the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger," the committee said in a statement.
The committee warned that the world faces a hunger crisis of inconceivable proportions. The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger.
"In the face of the pandemic, the World Food Program has demonstrated an impressive ability to intensify its efforts. 'Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos' as the organization itself has stated," the Nobel Committee noted.
WFP is tasked with addressing hunger and promoting food security worldwide. In 2019, the WFP provided assistance to close to 100 million victims of acute food insecurity and hunger in 88 countries.
"The Nobel Committee wishes to emphasize that providing assistance to increase food security not only prevents hunger but can also help to improve prospects for stability and peace," the panel said.
The WFP has taken the lead in combining humanitarian work with peace efforts through pioneering projects in South America, Africa and Asia.
David Beasley, executive director of the WFP, thanked the committee for the honor in a tweet.
Last year’s peace prize went to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for his work to end almost two decades of conflict with neighboring Eritrea.
Previous winners include prominent names such as Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King and the European Union.
The Nobel Foundation said last month it was increasing the amount awarded for individual prizes to 10 million kronor ($1.1 million), from 9 million kronor previously, to reflect a rise in the returns generated on its capital.