World Food Programme

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations, the world's largest humanitarian organization focused on hunger and food security, and the largest provider of school meals. Founded in 1961, it is headquartered in Rome and has offices in 80 countries. Two-thirds of its activities conducted in conflict zones.

The WFP reflects the best in humanity and the worst. It exists because many of us care and it exists because many of us do not.
Because of so many wars, climate change, the widespread use of hunger as a political and military weapon, and a global health pandemic that makes all of that exponentially worse, 270 million people are marching toward starvation.
We believe food is the pathway to peace... working together, we could end hunger for all the 690 million people who go to bed hungry every night, but today we have a crisis at hand. This Nobel Peace Prize is more than a thank you; it is a call to action.


  • The World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading humanitarian organization saving lives and changing lives, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. As the international community has committed to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition by 2030, one in nine people worldwide still do not have enough to eat. Food and food-related assistance lie at the heart of the struggle to break the cycle of hunger and poverty. For its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict, WFP was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.
  • On any given day, WFP has 5,600 trucks, 30 ships and nearly 100 planes on the move, delivering food and other assistance to those in most need. Every year, we distribute more than 15 billion rations at an estimated average cost per ration of US$ 0.61. These numbers lie at the roots of WFP’s unparalleled reputation as an emergency responder, one that gets the job done quickly at scale in the most difficult environments. WFP’s efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations. Two-thirds of our work is in conflict-affected countries where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries without conflict.
  • WFP development projects focus on nutrition, especially for mothers and children, addressing malnutrition from the earliest stages through programmes targeting the first 1,000 days from conception to a child’s second birthday, and later through school meals.
    WFP is the largest humanitarian organisation implementing school feeding programmes worldwide and has been doing so for over 50 years. In 2019, WFP provided school meals to more than 17.3 million children in 50 countries, often in the hardest-to-reach areas.
  • The executive director of the World Food Program is calling for the world’s billionaires to step up and help his organization fight hunger... David Beasley said he was supportive of capitalism but added that capitalism without a heart is a disaster. He said that the COVID-19 pandemic and the related government-mandated shutdowns to slow the spread of the virus caused over 100 million people to be on the brink of starvation worldwide... “I need an additional $6 billion this year to reach the 41 million ... that are knocking on famine’s door,” Beasley continued... He specifically mentioned Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and said that he needed just 10% of the $64 billion Bezos’s wealth grew by last year to fund the food program
  • Thank you for acknowledging our work of using food to combat hunger, to mitigate against destabilization of nations, to prevent mass migration, to end conflict and to create stability and peace. We believe food is the pathway to peace. I wish today that I could speak of how, working together, we could end hunger for all the 690 million people who go to bed hungry every night, but today we have a crisis at hand. This Nobel Peace Prize is more than a thank you; it is a call to action.
  • What tears me up inside is this. This coming year, millions and millions and millions of my equals, my neighbors, your neighbors, are marching to the brink of starvation. We stand at what may be the most ironic moment in modern history. On the one hand, after a century of massive strides in eliminating extreme poverty, today those 200 million of our neighbors are on the brink of starvation. That’s more than the entire population of Western Europe. On the other hand, there is $400 trillion of wealth in our world today. Even at the height of the COVID pandemic, in just 90 days, an additional [$2.7] trillion of wealth was created. And we only need $5 billion to save 30 million lives from famine. What am I missing here?
    • David Beasley, quoted in Food Is the Pathway to Peace: World Food Programme Wins Nobel Peace Prize & Warns of Hunger Pandemic, Democracy Now! (10 December 2020)
  • I have done the usual things you do before an awards ceremony. After extensive high-level consultation, I think I now have the right suit and tie. Carefully folded in my pocket is a long list of people to praise, many far more deserving of praise than I. I am ready. Growing up in a small South Carolina town, I never imagined life would bring me to this moment and allow me to be part of the wonderful, blessed enterprise I have found in WFP, the World Food Programme.
    I feel pride today, but also a sense of shame I cannot seem to shake. There is failure in this victory. We are having our media moment while hunger still rages. I know that just as WFP receives this coveted award, in a nameless village in Yemen, a skeletal child will be hovering close to death, hooked to a feeding tube.
    You have, no doubt, seen these children in fleeting images on your television screens. Well, let me tell you those images don’t come close to the reality. I have met these frail Yemeni children, most often in hot and dusty clinics filled with flies. The mothers usually give up on shooing the flies away and sit quietly by their sides. When you enter the room they pray you are the western miracle that has come to save their child. You know you’re not and you could not be more uncomfortable.
  • The WFP reflects the best in humanity and the worst. It exists because many of us care and it exists because many of us do not. Sadly, most hunger today is a self-inflicted wound. Six out of 10 of the world’s hungry live in countries at war with themselves – more than 400 million people... Hunger in Yemen is complex – fighting still rages and donor confidence is ebbing, while food prices are up 140%... Millions are food insecure and famine-like conditions have begun to appear. It is, simply put, a country in chaos. But we have brought Yemen back from the brink before... Coping with the bitter politics in Yemen will surely test us. But if we are determined, we can succeed again. We cannot let hunger simply fade into the background in the age of Covid-19. My dream for today is that all the feeding tubes in Yemen will suddenly vanish and those tiny children will go home smiling in the arms of the mothers. What is happening in Yemen now is a shame. We all share that shame and we need to end it together.

Quotes about

  • The numbers are staggering— as reflected in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has triggered a new round of food shortages, famine and starvation. According to the Rome-based World Food Programme (WFP) 690 million people do not have enough to eat while 130 million additional people risk being pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of the year. “Hunger is an outrage in a world of plenty. An empty stomach is a gaping hole in the heart of a society,” (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last week pointing out that famine is looming in several countries. Striking a personal note, Guterres said he could have never imagined that hunger would rise again during his time in office as Secretary-General. The WFP singled out 10 countries with the worst food crises in 2019: Yemen, Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria and Haiti. The list is expected to increase by end of this year. WFP Executive Director David Beasley told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council last April: “There are no famines yet. But I must warn you that if we don’t prepare and act now – to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade – we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.”
  • I was out in the middle of Niger. And somebody just comes busting into our meeting, said, 'Nobel Peace Prize! Nobel Peace Prize!' And I'm like, "Well, yeah, wow, who won it?' And they're like, 'We did!' That was the greatest surprise in my life. And wow, wow, wow!
    • David Beasley, quoted in Kate Hudson on being a World Food Programme ambassador, CBS News, (22 November 2020)
  • When you start to get involved with it, it's just like, you know, it's one of those things. You're just hooked. It's not like, 'Oh, I hope we find a cure.' There is a cure. The cure is the food – we have it. It's there. It's available. So, it's really about how we get there, you know?
    There was a mother that was one of the mothers of a child in the school, and she had just had a baby... I said, 'How are you feeling?' you know, and she was like, 'Ughhh.' And you realize that as mothers, the first thing that we do with our babies is, we would do anything to feed them. And when that goes wrong, I mean, you can't explain it if you don't know what that feels like, if you can't give your baby milk, if you're not producing. It's the fundamental fear, if we cannot feed our children.
    You know, when you see someone suffering of something that is as simple as a little bit of food, it's just, you know, you can help that. There's no greater kind of contribution, I think, than being able to at least try to help as many people as you can.
    • Kate Hudson on being a World Food Programme ambassador, CBS News, (22 November 2020)
  • The latest fighting in Yemen has exacerbated the world’s worst humanitarian crisis — where the United Nations warns about 80% of Yemen’s 30 million residents are in need of assistance. World Food Programme director David Beasley said Friday that Yemen tops the list of nations at risk of famine due to war, disease and the climate crisis. David Beasley: “We are now looking, literally, at 2021 being the worst humanitarian crisis year since the beginning of the United Nations. … We have to prioritize, as I say, the icebergs in front of the Titanic. We’ve really got to give priority to famine, destabilization and migration.” Beasley predicts a record 235 million people around the world will need humanitarian aid next year — a 40% increase from 2020. The World Food Programme will receive the Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday, International Human Rights Day.
    • World Food Programme Chief Warns of “Catastrophic” Humanitarian Crisis in 2021, Democracy Now! (7 December 2020)
  • The World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian organization dealing with hunger and food security, accepted the Nobel Peace Prize today, with its executive director David Beasley warning that the combination of conflict, climate crisis and COVID-19 could push 270 million people to the brink of starvation. In his acceptance speech, Beasley said, “Because of so many wars, climate change, the widespread use of hunger as a political and military weapon, and a global health pandemic that makes all of that exponentially worse, 270 million people are marching toward starvation. Failure to address their needs will cause a hunger pandemic which will dwarf the impact of COVID.”... The executive director, the former South Carolina Governor David Beasley, accepted this year’s Nobel Peace Prize award on behalf of the organization from its headquarters in Rome.
  • As the World Food Programme accepts the Nobel Peace Prize, we look at the growing global hunger crisis amid the pandemic, the climate crisis and war. In the United States, as many as 50 million people could experience food insecurity before the end of the year — including one in four children. “It’s important to remember that hunger does not always happen because of natural disasters,” says Ricardo Salvador, director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It is often the result of things that we do to each other deliberately.”
  • During assignments as consultant to WFP´s Headquarters in Rome I have listened to people telling me about their experiences from being confronted with thousands of starving people, especially undernourished, sick and dying children. This while they were putting their own lives at risk, being surrounded by murderous armies, bandits and militias. I was also told about their discomfort at being forced to cooperate with politicians who used starving people as pawns in their cynical power games. When asked if they believed in WFP´s mandate and right to exist, they answered that if you have been confronted with the suffering of severely undernourished fellow human beings, you could not even imagine a justification for not trying to help them. “To witness someone dying due to undernourishment is horrible. How can your conscience endure the knowledge that you did nothing about it, while realizing that you could have saved the one who died.” The people I talked to were well aware that the organisation they served had its shortcomings, but they were also eager to amend them. They told me they felt privileged for having been provided with a possibility to ease the suffering of others.
  • While passing through the foyer of WFP, I could not avoid a glance at a wall covered with bronze plaques paying homage to WFP staff who had been killed in the field while trying to help starving people. Last time I saw the wall, sometime in 2018, there were 98 names.
    In times when every inhabitant on Planet Earth is overshadowed by COVID-19, a Nobel Peace Prize to WFP reminds us how precious we are to each other. When people are confronted with a disease that so far cannot be controlled by drugs and efficient health care it makes us realize the importance of ignoring petty chauvinism, narcissism, power games and egoism. It is high time to increase international cooperation and realizing that the Earth is an enclosed, biological sphere, where we for our own survival have to join forces to save both our planet and humanity. No nation can single-handedly combat a pandemic, neither can starvation and pollution be amended without international organisations.
    So let us rejoice in WFP´s Peace Prize and hope the world´s wealthy nations realize the urgency of supporting the organisation and replenish its funds. Their contributions have so far been insufficient for covering the identified needs of food-insecure populations and WFP´s funding gap is currently USD 4.1 billion and steadily increasing.
  • A report prepared by the Global Network Against Food Crises, an international alliance working to address the root causes of extreme hunger, which acts under the auspices of the World Food Program, shows that in 2021 global levels of hunger surpassed all previous records — with close to 193 million people acutely food insecure and in need of urgent assistance across 53 countries and territories. This represents an increase of nearly 40 million people compared with 2020. According to the report, the outlook for 2022 is for further deterioration of global hunger levels, exacerbated by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which is having severe repercussions on global food, energy and fertilizer prices... the geopolitics of famine is such that millions of lives are held hostage to conflicts far from the nations most in need. Hopefully, the US, Russia and the UN will be able to reach an equitable balance before it is too late.
  • This is a very apt recognition for the organization. However, I think that executive director Beasley will also agree that the best circumstance would be that there be no need for an organization like the World Food Programme. What it is doing is heroic because it’s essentially delivering emergency food to populations that have no recourse. But we really need to be asking ourselves: How is it that in the 21st century, when the planet as a whole is producing almost half, again, as much in terms of calories that we need to feed everyone, that there are some people that are in such dire circumstances as he described? So, we must always do that work. We must support that work. We must congratulate the people that devote their lives to do that. But I think a more important calling is actually to prevent the incidence of hunger on the planet, which is entirely doable.

See also

Wikipedia has an article about: