Food security is a priority area at NMBU’s Department of International Environment and Development Studies. The awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the UN World Food Programme has been lauded by several at the department.
“WFP is a worthy winner...We are facing increasing hunger in the world and a greater need for humanitarian efforts for food security. The award supports multilateral and international cooperation”, says Ruth Haug in Norwegian daily, Dagsavisen. Haug is one of Norway's leading experts on the connections between agricultural policy, economics, food security and nutrition, and a professor at Noragric.
Haug took part in the celebrations of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. She discussed the connection between food and peace at an event with Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute Olav Njølstad, Nobel Committee leader Berit Reiss-Andersen, WFP Syria’s Corinne Fleischer and Norad’s Bård Vegar Solhjell amongst others, streamed from the Nobel Peace Centre.
“When we have a war, people become poorer and more hungry…Overall, the link between hunger, peace [and] conflict is really strong” said Haug at the event, which is available to watch in the Nobel Peace Centre's video Celebrating the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize [Haug appears around 43:44]:
Seed security expert Ola Westengen also thinks the award is well-placed.
“It is fantastic that the prize is awarded to a UN organization that works to fight hunger. Hunger is violence. I do, however, think the award should go to the three Rome-based UN organizations together. The other two, IFAD [International Fund for Agricultural Development] and FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations], work more long-term with food and agricultural development, whilst WFP is a humanitarian actor that comes in when the crises actually occur” he says [translation of comments in Bondebladet].
Westengen adds that it is important that the Nobel Committee does not contribute to making food a security issue.
“Fighting hunger is a goal in itself. Access to food is a human right”, says the Associate Professor.