Nobel Peace Prize 2020

Witoubou Newmai

What does it mean for us?

What does it speak to a society like ours when the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP)? What lessons are there for us in this? What can we do from here? And what more cogent questions can we raise from this for us, and for everyone?

Before we take home things and put it in our context, let us pick up certain reasons cited by the Nobel Committee in choosing the WFP.

Announcing the prize last week, the Nobel Committee said, “The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger in the world.” The Committee added, “The world is in danger of experiencing a hunger crisis of inconceivable proportions if the World Food Programme (WFP) and other food assistance organisations do not receive the financial support they have requested.”

The above comments are self-explanatory. However, one still needs to go closer for examinations on these two sentences of the Nobel Committee. 

The first line would also mean to say that there have already been “victims of hunger in the world” even before the COVID-19. The coronavirus pandemic only aggravated the problem (see: ‘contributed to a strong upsurge…’). This can possibly mean that the pandemic has brought about a new dimension on the issue of ‘hunger’. This can also mean that even though ‘hunger’ has not been an issue for us here today, the pandemic can give us a new situation. 

 The second line of the Nobel Committee mentioned above points to what we fear. 

When the Norwegian committee said that the “World Food Programme and other food assistance organisations do not receive the financial support they have requested,” things are revealed here vividly that the majority of the world’s people, if not everyone, think only for themselves today. 

It would also mean that co-operation has not been there to the desired degree. As such has become the world’s mentality today, the Nobel Committee’s reason to award the WFP is one way of appealing to the world to give. 

A society like ours needs to ponder that food insecurity is real. As the coronavirus pandemic is bringing more and more fresh dimensions of issues, it is not time for us not to think.  

Another important point mentioned by the Nobel Committee is: “The link between hunger and armed conflict is a vicious circle: war and conflict can cause food insecurity and hunger, just as hunger and food insecurity can cause latent conflicts to flare up and trigger the use of violence”.

What this would also mean to our society? All of us have the capability to read the obvious.