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World Food Programme (WFP) awarded The Nobel Peace Prize 2020
by Norwegian Nobel Committee
 
Oslo, 9 October 2020
 
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 to the World Food Programme (WFP) 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 World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation addressing hunger and promoting food security. In 2019, the WFP provided assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries who are victims of acute food insecurity and hunger.
 
In 2015, eradicating hunger was adopted as one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The WFP is the UN’s primary instrument for realising this goal.
 
In recent years, the situation has taken a negative turn. In 2019, 135 million people suffered from acute hunger, the highest number in many years. Most of the increase was caused by war and armed conflict.
 
The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a strong upsurge in the number of victims of hunger in the world. In countries such as Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan and Burkina Faso, the combination of violent conflict and the pandemic has led to a dramatic rise in the number of people living on the brink of starvation.
 
In the face of the pandemic, the World Food Programme has demonstrated an impressive ability to intensify its efforts. As the organisation itself has stated, “Until the day we have a medical vaccine, food is the best vaccine against chaos.”
 
The world is in danger of experiencing a hunger crisis of inconceivable proportions if the World Food Programme and other food assistance organisations do not receive the financial support they have requested.
 
The link between hunger and armed conflict is a vicious circle: war and conflict can cause food insecurity and hunger, just as hunger and food insecurity can cause latent conflicts to flare up and trigger the use of violence. We will never achieve the goal of zero hunger unless we also put an end to war and armed conflict.
 
The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to emphasise that providing assistance to increase food security not only prevents hunger, but can also help to improve prospects for stability and peace. The World Food Programme has taken the lead in combining humanitarian work with peace efforts through pioneering projects in South America, Africa and Asia.
 
The World Food Programme was an active participant in the diplomatic process that culminated in May 2018 in the UN Security Council’s unanimous adoption of Resolution 2417, which for the first time explicitly addressed the link between conflict and hunger.
 
The Security Council also underscored UN Member States’ obligation to help ensure that food assistance reaches those in need, and condemned the use of starvation as a method of warfare.
 
With this year’s award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to turn the eyes of the world towards the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger.
 
The World Food Programme plays a key role in multilateral cooperation on making food security an instrument of peace, and has made a strong contribution towards mobilising UN Member States to combat the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
 
The organisation contributes daily to advancing the fraternity of nations referred to in Alfred Nobel’s will. As the UN’s largest specialised agency, the World Food Programme is a modern version of the peace congresses that the Nobel Peace Prize is intended to promote.
 
The work of the World Food Programme to the benefit of humankind is an endeavour that all the nations of the world should be able to endorse and support. http://www.wfp.org/
 
# 20 Nov. 2020
 
WFP Global Update on COVID-19: Growing Needs, Response to Date and What’s to Come in 2021
 
WFP estimates that 271.8 million people in countries where it operates are acutely food insecure - or directly at-risk of becoming so - due to the aggravating effect the protracted COVID-19 crisis is having in areas affected by conflict, socio-economic downturn, natural hazards, climate change and pests. The latest estimate marks an increase in acute food insecurity from the earlier June projection. This November update of WFP's Global Response Plan to COVID-19 takes stock of efforts by regional bureaux and country offices to continue to sustain and scale-up operations to assist vulnerable communities and to support governments in their health and hunger response.
 
Food security partners still do not have the funding required to implement operations at the level required to prevent catastrophe. Needs-based plans developed by WFP country offices for the next six months stand at USS 7.7 billion through April 2021, half of which is still to be resourced:
 
http://docs.wfp.org/api/documents/WFP-0000121038/download/ (88p)


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Ending poverty by 2030 now a fading dream
by Olivier De Schutter
Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
 
Sep. 2020
 
As the world faces the deepest economic recession since the 1929 Great Depression, social protection is again on the top of the international agenda, years after the adoption in 2012 of Recommendation No.202 on National Social Protection Floors within the International Labour Organization.
 
As countries have issued cash transfers, unemployment benefits, and in-kind support for their citizens, the Special Rapporteur assesses the responses governments are providing, examines the global state of public services and human rights before the pandemic, and reflects on the challenges that lie ahead.
 
In this report, submitted in response to resolution 44/13 of the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur argues that the world was ill-equipped to deal with the socioeconomic impacts of this pandemic because it never recovered fully from the austerity measures imposed in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008-2011.
 
The legacy of austerity measures is severely underfunded public healthcare systems, undervalued and precarious care work, sustained declines in global labour income shares, and high inequality rates coupled with average decreases in statutory corporate tax rates.
 
With public services in dire straits, one-off cash transfers are a drop in the bucket for people living in poverty, whether in developed, developing, or least developed countries.
 
Maladapted, short-term, reactive, and inattentive to the realities of people in poverty, the new wave of social protection hype must hold up to human rights scrutiny. This report identifies eight challenges that must be addressed in order to bring social protection in line with human rights standards.
 
In total, over 1,400 social protection measures have been adopted by 208 jurisdictions to cushion the shock. While a remarkable number in itself, the intended beneficiaries of these schemes must often face systemic obstacle courses to access them. Many of the programs are short-term, temporary measures, that either are being phased out, or can only be renewed through parliamentary processes with uncertain outcomes. Many provide allowances that are grossly insufficient to guarantee an adequate standard of living.
 
Although some schemes have been designed to cover workers in the informal sector and in precarious forms of employment (respectively 1.6 billion and 0.4 billion worldwide, both categories representing 61.2% of the global workforce), many are inattentive to the realities of the different groups that make up this category of workers.
 
Migrants, especially undocumented migrants, often are not covered. Indigenous Peoples, despite being overrepresented among people in poverty, remain invisible to public databases and face distinct obstacles in accessing benefits.
 
Many schemes are not gender-sensitive because they do not take into account the fact that women are overrepresented among part-time workers and workers in precarious employment, as well as among workers with an interrupted career, and that women shoulder the burden when schools close or when the healthcare sector is overwhelmed.
 
Many schemes also require forms to be completed online, which de facto excludes large groups of the population who have no internet access or have little digital literacy.
 
Finally, although transparency and participation should ensure that schemes are designed and implemented effectively and reach those who are most in need of support, and although access to independent claims mechanism are essential to reduce the risks of exclusion, these human rights principles have almost systematically been disregarded in the name of expediency.
 
In sum, impressive though the reaction has been considering the number of measures adopted, States have been taken off-guard. Now is the time to rebuild. The international community must prove that it learned from the mistakes of the 2008-2011 global financial crisis to avoid ending up more fragile than when it started.
 
Equitable financing, one of the main themes of the Call to Action of the Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection (USP2030), should therefore be at the heart of States’ answer to this crisis in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past: this is essential to ensure “universality of protection, based on social solidarity,” as pledged in the Social Protection Floors Recommendation No. 202.
 
Fiscal support to emissions-intensive firms contributing to climate change must also be conditional on clear plans for a transition towards zero emissions.
 
The design and implementation of social protection policies, and any conditionalities attached to allowances, must be transparent, consider the voices of people in poverty, and include oversight mechanisms that allow populations to hold their governments to account.
 
Building social protection systems on the basis of human rights can significantly contribute to their effectiveness in eradicating poverty and in reducing inequalities, thus improving resilience of societies in the face of shocks.
 
This means defining social protection neither as an emergency response to a situation of crisis, nor as charity – but rather as a set of permanent entitlements prescribed by domestic legislation, defining individuals as rights-holders, and guaranteeing them access to independent claims mechanisms if they are denied the benefits for which they qualify. Both the mobilization of domestic resources and international solidarity should be placed in the service of this objective.
 
* A rights-based approach to social protection in the post-COVID-19 economic recovery: http://srpoverty.org/2020/09/11/special-rapporteur-launches-new-report-on-poverty-in-a-covid-stricken-world/ http://bit.ly/30H7Mow http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Poverty/covid19.pdf
 
July 2020
 
The global COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more than 250 million people to the brink of starvation and dashed hopes of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030, a UN expert says in a report published today.
 
The report, to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council today by Olivier De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, was prepared by his predecessor Philip Alston. It criticises the way governments have banked on economic growth to lift people out of poverty. It says the UN's 2030 Agenda to eradicate poverty through Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relies too much on a poverty line set so low by the World Bank that it allows governments to claim progress where there is none.
 
The report states that the pandemic will push 176 million more people into extreme poverty, compounding long-standing neglect of low-income people, including women, migrant workers and refugees. The international community's abysmal record on tackling poverty, inequality and disregard for human life far precede this pandemic, the report says.
 
"Many world leaders, economists, and pundits have enthusiastically promoted a self-congratulatory message, proclaiming progress against poverty to be one of the greatest human achievements of our time," the report says. "The reality is that billions face few opportunities, countless indignities, unnecessary hunger and preventable death, and do not enjoy basic human rights."
 
"In too many cases, the promised benefits of growth either don't materialise or aren't shared," the report says. "The global economy has doubled since the end of the Cold War, yet half the world lives under $5.50 a day, primarily because the benefits of growth have largely gone to the wealthiest."
 
The world needs new strategies, genuine mobilisation, empowerment and accountability "to avoid sleepwalking towards assured failure while pumping out endless bland reports", the report says.
 
Tax justice is key to ensure governments have the money needed for social protection: in 2015, multinationals shifted an estimated 40 percent of their profits to tax havens, while global corporate tax rates have fallen from an average of 40.38 percent in 1980 to 24.18 percent in 2019. De Schutter also called for establishment of a social protection fund to help countries give the poorest basic social security guarantees.
 
"Growth alone, without far more robust redistribution of wealth, would fail to effectively tackle poverty," said De Schutter. "Based on historic growth rates, it would take 200 years to eradicate poverty under a $5 a day line and would require a 173-fold increase in global GDP."
 
That, he added, is "an entirely unrealistic prospect, not least since it does not take into account the environmental degradation associated to the economic growth, or the impacts of climate change on poverty itself".
 
"I welcome this report, which illustrates that poverty is not a matter only of low incomes," said De Schutter. "It's a matter of disempowerment, of institutional and social abuse, and of discrimination. It is the price we pay for societies that exclude people whose contributions are not recognised. Eradicating poverty means building inclusive societies that shift from a charity approach to a rights-based empowering approach." http://bit.ly/31T79bq
 
* Access the report: http://bit.ly/3hgU02x http://srpoverty.org/


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