Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the UN World Food Programme
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Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the UN World Food Programme

Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sophie Wilmès, and Development Cooperation Minister Meryame Kitir have welcomed the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

Ms Wilmès and Ms. Kitir said they were “very satisfied” that the prize has been awarded to WFP, which they described as one of Belgium’s privileged partners in responding to crisis situations.

Belgian humanitarian policy is guided by the principles of Good Humanitarian Donorship, in keeping with a commitment the country made at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2015.

One of these principles is providing humanitarian organisations with foreseeable financing to enable them to respond with flexibility, speed and dynamism to evolving humanitarian needs, the two members of the government of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said.

Belgian support for WFP is in line with this principle, the ministers explained. Flexible and foreseeable financing has enhanced the Programme’s capacity to respond quickly and deliver assistance immediately and effectively to people in need, even in “forgotten crisis” such as Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, and, of course, Lebanon and Syria, they added.

Belgium also supports WFP in the use of new, innovative technology to make the provision of humanitarian aid still more effective. Humanitarian access is often hindered by armed groups in conflict zones, and Belgian funding has, for example, enabled drones to be deployed in such cases.

The number of persons suffering from malnutrition worldwide has increased due to conflicts, drought and other natural disasters, which worsen food insecurity and, as a result, the need for humanitarian assistance. It is only because of the COVID-19 pandemic that a huge increase in the numbers of famine victims has been detected. The global recession fuelled by the crisis threatens to condemn an additional 83 million to 132 million persons worldwide to famine, the two ministers stressed.

By awarding the Peace Prize to WFP, the Nobel Committee has highlighted the central role the UN programme can play in the global struggle against hunger and in continuing to bring peace to conflict zones through humanitarian aid, the ministers said.

The Programme’s work “must serve us as an example in our actions as a State in order to contribute to the construction of a safer, more stable world,” the Foreign Minister commented, adding that Belgium shared this approach.

The Brussels Times