McGovern Congratulates 2020 Nobel Prize Recipient the World Food Program
As submitted for publication in the Congressional Record
Madam Speaker, today, December 10th, International Human Rights Day, at 7:00 AM Eastern Time, the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in Oslo, Norway to the World Food Program (WFP) for its outstanding humanitarian work to feed the world’s hungriest and most vulnerable people.
The World Food Program is the largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security internationally, providing aid to nearly 100 million people in 88 countries last year alone.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began wreaking havoc on people’s lives, livelihoods and economic security, WFP has redoubled its efforts to address global hunger and failing food systems. Last month, WFP executive director David Beasley warned of the potential for famine of Biblical proportions if the world failed to provide support now to the those currently made most vulnerable by the pandemic and its associated economic shocks, climate change, natural disaster, war and conflict.
I have had the privilege of seeing WFP operations up close and personal in various regions of the world. I was in eastern Chad on the border of Sudan visiting Sudanese refugee camps in 2007 when Janjaweed militias crossed the border and attacked two villages. WFP and many humanitarian aid groups swung into immediate action, providing safety, food, water and emergency medical care to hundreds of villagers made homeless in a matter of hours.
In Colombia, I’ve seen WFP provide nourishing meals in schools for the children of families internally displaced by violence. And in Ethiopia I visited health centers serving individuals and families ravaged by HIV/AIDS that could provide food for their patients thanks to WFP and its local partners.
In the wars in Syria, Yemen, Sudan and South Sudan, the deliveries of food and related services provided by WFP are often the only source of nourishment for civilian populations trapped in conflict zones, forcibly displaced inside their countries, or forced to flee to neighboring nations for safety.
I am very proud that the United States is the largest donor to WFP operations world-wide, and that USDA, USAID and our own Food for Peace Program are among WFP’s most reliable and effective partners. The U.S. provides food grown by America’s own farmers, ready-to-eat meals, cash assistance, support for school feeding programs, and nutritious food products tailored for the very young and especially for infants and young children suffering from malnutrition and undernutrition.
Many of us cannot imagine the range and scale of WFP’s global mission. It includes 17,000 staff worldwide, works in some 80 countries, and has more than 20 ships, 90 planes, and 5,600 trucks on the move on any given day. It certainly has some of the most generous and dedicated local staff that I have ever met and works with a broad range of local, national and international NGOs and partners to combat global hunger and food insecurity.
I will never forget those days when I have been with WFP in the field. I give my warmest congratulations to David Beasley, and all the extraordinary local and international WFP staff, for being awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. May they carry on their noble mission until the day comes when no child, no man or woman goes to bed hungry and every household in the world is secure in the knowledge that there will always be food on the table.