Nobel Peace Prize goes to the fight against hunger

The Nobel Committee has awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). The Committee said it was honouring the programme for its efforts in the fight against hunger and its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict areas. A good decision, some say. Others argue that it was too tame.

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Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Why not the women from Belarus?

Der Tagesspiegel would have liked a bolder decision:

“The committee could have used this opportunity to put a worthy cause which is in urgent need of support in the public spotlight with this prestigious award. The democracy movement in Belarus, for example. Or the peace-keeping groups in conflicts such as the recently reignited fighting Nagorno-Karabakh or in the agonisingly prolonged war in Yemen. For sure, with such a decision the jury would have put itself right in the middle of current power struggles. ... But an award, for example, to the peaceful demonstrators in Minsk - and especially to the women there would have given them fresh courage. And it would have strengthened their political position.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Far from the courage of the past

The Nobel Committee was playing it safe with this decision, De Volkskrant also laments:

“China will certainly have taken note of this decision with satisfaction. Beijing had already made it clear that any tribute to Hong Kong activists would be 'strongly' rejected. ... The most significant Nobel Prizes - now in the grey past - were awarded to courageous state representatives who took bold action even against their own interests. .... Or to individuals who defied dictators, such as the German journalist and pacifist Carl von Ossietzky in 1935. With this decision the Nobel Committee triggered the rage of a dictator - in the case Adolf Hitler. There is currently a lack of willingness to do so.”

Népszava (HU) /

A prize for the staff, not for the donors

The UN member states definitely do not deserve the award, Népszava believes:

“The World Food Programme is a United Nations organisation, so theoretically the Swedish Nobel Committee honoured the joint efforts of the member states with the prize. If that is really the case, then no one is less deserving of this award. But there is also a somewhat different, narrower interpretation, namely that the WFP board with its 36 members, or the 17,000 employees of the organization were honoured with the award. These people try to save lives, often in hopeless situations, heroically remaining where they are needed and steadfastly appealling to callous governments.”

Neatkarīgā (LV) /

A sensible step

That the favourites went empty-handed is mainly due to coronavirus, Neatkarīgā posits:

“If the Nobel Peace Prize had been awarded at the beginning of the year, Greta would have had nothing to fear. But the pandemic has changed many things. ... Giving the award to the WHO would have looked even stranger. It would be difficult to explain why such an honour was bestowed upon this organization when many doubt that it did all it could to contain the pandemic from the start. ... From this point of view, awarding the prize to the WFP is a sensible step. However, the fact that the Nobel Prize was given to an organization without it having done anything out of the ordinary does not bode well either. Has everyone in the world become so happy that they don't even have to think about peace?”

Tageblatt (LU) /

Funding must also reflect programme's importance

The World Food Programme well deserves to win, but national governments must also do their part, Tageblatt admonishes:

“Like the UNHCR and other organizations, the World Food Programme is dependent on government contributions for its work. Only reliable donors allow the planning which is essential for long-term projects, for example in refugee camps. Which brings up the much touted 'help on location'. ... At a time when more and more Syrians were crossing the border into neighbouring countries, many donor countries cut their contributions. ... Instead of help on location there was an emergency on location - which drove many to press onwards to Europe. Anyone who advertises on-location help as the first solution in migration issues must be prepared to pay for it.”