Post Mortem

2020 Nobel Peace Prize for WFP: Exposes the world we live-in

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/12/2020 1:03:20 PM IST

 World Food Programme (WFP) established in 1961 by the United Nations primarily to alleviate world hunger has been awarded the Nobel peace prize for the year 2020 for its efforts combatting hunger, for facilitating better conditions for peace, and for helping to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war. WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies initiating food assistance to build ways and means for peace, stability and prosperity for those in the midst of conflicts; those caught up in disasters and have become the victims of climate change. Its headquarters is in Rome, having regional offices in about 80 countries. 

Apart from the above, WFP focusses on food security and food-based social safety nets in the countries where poverty and hunger are recurring phenomenon. Wherever there are conflicts of varied nature and natural disasters, WFP provides technical assistance and engages itself in the food distribution. 2020 is the most crucial and challenging year for WFP as millions of people across the world have been gravely and intensely hit by the deadly pandemic losing their jobs and livelihood. Those, in particular, living in poorer regions and continents have been facing multiple impact of COVID-19. 

Coronavirus has by and large adversely affected the vulnerable sections by deepening the poverty-hunger syndromes and in the process leveraging these to unprecedented levels, wherein millions of families and communities across the world are undergoing all kinds of suffering. Further, there have been alsotriggering of the communal and other forms of conflicts; movement of refugees within and between borders triggered by climate, economic, political, religio-cultural and social facets. As against the backdrop, it is certainly a befitting gesture on the part of Nobel Award Committee for having recognized the services of WFP particularly in times of deadly global pandemic. 

Feeding the hungry and those living in abject poverty and responding to de-stabilization and migration have been the major pre-occupations of WFP. Year 2020 has been the worst year for WFP as challenges started to mount on WFP. Challenges of hunger and poverty continue to rise as weeks, months and year pass-by. From 2016 to 2019 hunger and poverty were under control, but in 2020 there has been significant rise to whopping 270 million. This segment does not know from where would they get the next meal. Further, 2021 is going to be catastrophic.

Now the global humanity is caught up with twin challenges: Covid pandemic and hunger pandemic. WFP is expected to muster at least 15 billion dollars for the de-stabilization program, migration and challenges posed by poverty and hunger. Usually WFP approaches billionaires, nation-states and funding-agencies for money to meet the emergent challenges. At leastin the coming year WFP needs 12-15 billion dollars to meet both the ends. There are 30,000 workers actively involved in responding to war-zone conflicts and host of others. It is the innocent masses who undergo all sorts of suffering. It’s almost with a begging bowl, WFP approaches all these people. 

There is a tendency that people are turning in-wards who do not want to give primarily pointing to covid. Poverty and hunger should not all the time be theorized, but be looked at as existential and physical. Poverty and hunger should not be viewed as charity-centric, but structural.  We nowadays keep looking at poverty and hunger as humanitarian issues, but deeply embedded in the global systems and structures. Nations of the world, if wanted could have removed poverty and hunger from the very face of the earth.“Politics of poverty and hunger” drives the comity of nations not to act so. They want masses should live under poverty and hunger/ Take for example, for the procurement of arms and ammunitions USA, UAE, India and many other poorer countries spend major percentage of GDP, but poverty and hunger alleviation leave alone the eradication program hardly the nation-states allocate funds.  

They want the poor should be in their midst. It is their huge vote bank. For military exercises and economic groupings there are regional co-operation, but when it comes to poverty and hunger there are hardly any. In such a context multilateralism has miserably failed. The UN has conveniently shelved millennial goals as countries of the world came together to alleviate poverty and hunger at the beginning of the century. Coca Cola and Pepsi are the largest polluters and were yet given the right to organize environmental summit. Those big corporations continue to exploit the human and natural resources for profit-maximization. What then is the rationale as WFP receive funds from them? 

The rich and super-rich are given the right to manage poverty and hunger. They are just perpetuating hunger and poverty and there’s no intent of alleviating or eradicating. About 2200 billionaires accrued about 2.7 trillion in the last four months during covid. They all belong to social media and technology tycoons.  We have lost the moral fibre to raise to the occasion. Comity of nations has lost its collective conscience. When coronavirus hit all the countries, they all have put together about 19.7 trillion dollars as economic stimulus. For poverty and hunger there are no stimulus packages. There should be political will and collective conscience to erase poverty and hunger from the face of the earth. Making poverty and hunger as history should be our pre-occupation. 

Dr. John Mohan Razu

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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