The Nobel Committee said the problem of hunger has again become more acute in recent years, not least because the pandemic has added to the hardship already faced by millions.
WFP estimates that 690 million people worldwide suffer some form of hunger.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was delighted the award went to “the world’s first responder on the front lines of food insecurity.” It was the ninth award for the U.N. or one of its agencies.
“In a world of plenty, it is unconscionable that hundreds of millions go to bed each night hungry,” Guterres said. “Millions more are now on the precipice of famine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Nobel Committee called on governments to ensure that WFP and other aid organizations receive the financial support needed to feed millions in countries such as Yemen, Congo, Nigeria and South Sudan.
When the award was announced, Beasley was in Niger, following a visit to neighboring Burkina Faso — two countries in the Sahel region of Africa that he said is “under attack by extremists and climate extremes” and going through “adevastating” time.
WFP this year created a global emergency delivery service for humanitarian aid. Officials said the unprecedented effort involved nearly 130 countries and was key in ensuring that aid for the pandemic kept flowing in addition to other assistance, like the drugs and vaccines needed to combat other diseases.