Nobel Prize committee puts hunger as a war strategy on the international agenda

October 9, 2020

PAX congratulates World Food Programme (WFP) with the Nobel Peace Prize 2020. According to the Nobel Committee, the WFP not only contributes to the global fight against hunger, but also to stability and peace. “Acute hunger can often be traced back to armed conflict. Unintentionally, or on the contrary as a deliberate war strategy,” says Anna Timmerman, general director of PAX. “The recognition of WFP’s work will hopefully give an impulse to combating hunger as a war strategy.

The effect of hunger as a war strategy can be clearly seen in sieges. The purpose of sieges is to force people to surrender through hunger, as we have seen in recent years in Syria, for example. Various parties, including in particular the government army of Syria, have made use of sieges. Hunger in those besieged areas is not an ‘accidental’ adverse effect of the conflict, it is deliberately used as a weapon. Lifting the sieges and allowing food (droppings), water and medical supplies should be a minimal measure to give peace negotiations some chance of success.

Corona exacerbates food shortages

Hunger is a breeding ground for conflict. Over the past year, coronary measures have further exacerbated food shortages in several countries in Africa. In Congo, for example, the capital Kinshasa has been completely closed off and in Goma the old Ebola measures have been reinstated. Timmerman: “The great danger is that some cities are largely dependent on agricultural products from abroad, for example, which in time will lead to food shortages and starvation. Here you can see that food aid from the World Food Programme can directly save lives and help prevent conflicts”.

Impulse to eradicate hunger

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN), of which PAX is an important part, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. This gave an enormous boost to the work of ICAN – and PAX – for an international ban on nuclear weapons. With the WFP, we hope that this prize will give the same impetus to the important work to combat hunger in the world. Read more about the choice of the Nobel Prize committee for the WFP. 

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