The announcement that the U.N. World Food Programme has been awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been welcomed by officials at the Anglican Communion, a family of 41 autonomous interdependent national and regional churches active in more than 165 countries around the world.
The Anglican Consultative Council’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Jack Palmer-White, said: “I am delighted to congratulate the World Food Programme on being awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize 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.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is not simply a health crisis. It has had a profound impact on other basic and fundamental rights that all people should enjoy,” he said. “The impact of the pandemic on global food security and the right to food is deeply concerning, particularly where it has exacerbated existing vulnerabilities and has pushed communities to the brink of famine. It is estimated that 821 million people go to bed hungry every night all over the world. Without the work of the World Food Programme, millions of people would die of hunger.
“Sadly, there is still a significant funding gap between what the World Food Programme needs to support those who are hungry around the world, and what U.N. member states and international financial institutions have pledged to fund. If we are to achieve the second of the Sustainable Development Goals – to reach zero hunger around the world – we all need to do more to provide the finance, technical support and political will to make this possible.”
He added: “As Christians, we have an unequivocal biblical mandate in Matthew 25 to feed the hungry. Right across the Anglican Communion, there are countless programmes and initiatives seeking to tackle hunger in its different contexts. A closer working relationship between faith actors and the World Food Programme can be a blessing to the world, and I encourage the World Food Programme to work more intentionally with faith communities across the world, for the benefit of those most in need.”
The award was also welcomed by the Anglican Alliance, a charity established following the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops in 2008 to facilitate and coordinate the work of the global network of Anglican relief and development agencies.
The executive director of the Anglican Alliance, the Rev. Rachel Carnegie, offered her “warmest congratulations” to the World Food Programme, adding: “This is worthy recognition of the courageous and compassionate role that WFP plays across the world in bringing food, assistance and, above all, hope to nearly 100 million people in communities facing conflict, insecurity, poverty, and the brutal daily trauma of hunger.
“As Anglicans we have connected with WFP over many years, in places such as South Sudan, where their food and logistics assistance has brought direct support and human dignity to communities devastated by conflict. In this time as the world faces COVID-19, the service WFP brings to the world has never been more needed as the terrible impact of the pandemic increases inequality and vulnerability and drives millions into poverty and hunger.
“We have valued engaging with WFP at this time to focus on restarting school feeding programmes to enable children to return to school and recover normality and safety in their lives.
“WFP’s mission to feed the hungry resonates profoundly with our faith calling. At this time of crisis, it is our earnest hope that the Nobel Peace Prize will draw global attention to the essential value of WFP’s work and ensure that it secures the resources needed to achieve our shared global goal of ending hunger by 2030.”