The World Food Programme (WFP) chief David Beasley won’t be able to pick up Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Norwegian Nobel Institute reportedly said on Wednesday. WFP was awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger and improving the conditions of conflict-ridden areas.
The institute is now considering the possibility of holding a digital award ceremony to present the WFP with the medal and diploma. Citing the current restrictions in Oslo, the Nobel Institute said that it would not be possible to carry out the ceremony “in a good and worthy manner”. The award ceremony is traditionally held in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the death of prize founder Alfred Nobel.
Initially, Norway did well to contain the pandemic but the Scandinavian country has also been reporting an exponential rise in overall cases for the last two weeks. Norway has recorded over 30,000 total cases of coronavirus, and 298 related death so far. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has also overwhelmed the frontline workers of the UN agency since the health crisis has spiralled into a humanitarian crisis.
After the prize announcement, the United Nations food relief agency said that WFP’s recognition is a powerful reminder to the world that “peace and zero hunger go hand-in-hand.” The Rome-based United Nations’ food-assistance branch remains the world’s largest humanitarian organisation addressing hunger and promoting food security. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has highlighted WFP’s role in multilateral cooperation on making food security an instrument of peace.
The committee had said in a statement that it wishes to turn the eyes of the world towards the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger. It listed WFP’s work in the past few years, including the assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries, in 2019, who are victims of acute food insecurity and hunger.
(With agency inputs)