Our warmest congratulations go to the World Food Program for winning the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. We are very proud to work alongside the World Food Program (WFP) as they address the needs and champion the voices of millions of people who go to bed hungry because of conflicts beyond their control.
We also commend the Nobel Committee for recognizing the relationship between food security and peace, and the urgent need to address conflict-driven hunger. We hope this prestigious award will serve as a beacon, shining a spotlight on the global hunger crisis.
As this Nobel Prize clearly reaffirms, hunger is both a cause and consequence of conflict. Six in ten hungry people live in countries in conflict, and seven in ten conflicts have their origins in disputes over food, water or the resources to produce them.
Conflict has driven increases in hunger over the last five years, reversing decades of progress. Hunger is increasingly used as a weapon of war, with indiscriminate attacks on fields of crops, water structures, and food and livestock storage, which violate international humanitarian law.
As conflicts increase, vulnerable communities are also dealing with the impacts of climate shocks, weak governance systems, and massive social and economic impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, WFP has warned that the number of people facing acute hunger could nearly double this year.
In April, David Beasley, WFP’s Executive Director, issued a warning to the world of an impending “hunger pandemic” and told the United Nations Security Council that there is “a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself.” His statement is as true and as urgent today as it was six months ago.
Two years ago, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2417, which recognizes the links between conflict and hunger. The UN has raised the alarm about potential famines in four countries, and this Nobel Prize demonstrates the urgency of fully implementing this resolution through addressing the root causes of hunger and identifying immediate and long-term operational solutions.
At Action Against Hunger, we are convinced that only a well-fed world can be a world at peace. Governments must wake up to the scale of the challenge and prioritize conflict-induced hunger in their diplomatic and humanitarian efforts. To respond to the growing threat of famine, food insecurity, and undernutrition, a massive, dedicated response by governments and civil society actors in collaboration is required, now.
The world needs a better way to deal with hunger. Together, we can go beyond treating the symptoms of hunger to collectively eradicate its root causes. With the World Food Program and the global community, we can implement social protection measures and profoundly transform food systems, which is essential to promote development and ensure peace.