GENEVA: The World Food Programme said Friday (Oct 9) that winning the Nobel Peace Prize was a "powerful reminder" that ending global hunger was inextricably linked to ending wars and conflict.
"This is a powerful reminder to the world that peace and #ZeroHunger go hand-in-hand," the Rome-based WFP said on Twitter.
Spokesman Tomson Phiri, who had been on the podium at the UN in Geneva for a regular press briefing when the announcement landed, described the win as "humbling" and a "proud moment" for the UN organisation.
"One of the beauties of WFP activities is that not only do we provide food for today and tomorrow, but we also are equipping people with the knowledge, the means to sustain themselves for the next day and the days after," he said.
Phiri, who only recently became WFP's spokesman in Geneva but who has worked for the organisation for nine years most recently in South Sudan, said he had "seen the extent to which people are dedicated across the globe to go the extra mile".
WFP, which in addition to providing food aid to millions worldwide handles logistics for the overall UN organisation, had especially in the midst of the coronavirus crisis gone "over and above the call of duty", he said.
"At one point we were the biggest airline in the world," he said, pointing out that, "when most if not all commercial airlines ground to a halt, we were able to move assistance".
He stressed the clear link between working for peace and ensuring people don't go hungry.
"What we have seen happening in countries such as South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan, is that where you have conflict, assistance become irregular," he said.
"It becomes inadequate, assistance also sometimes is delayed and in some cases is even suspended."
Billions of dollars have been spent providing desperately needed aid to countries that have descended into conflict.
But even when aid goes in, Phiri said, you still "need peace".
"You also need stability in those countries, and that is the bedrock. Everything else become less daunting when you have peace."