On December 10th, 2020 the head of the World Food Programme received the Nobel Peace Prize in the name of world´s largest humanitarian organization. As a group of Women Leaders who have joined voices in support of humanitarian relief and as strong supporters of multilateralism, we join the World Food Programme and its staff in 88 countries in this celebration.
As we approach the end of 2020, the year humanity has faced one of its worst crises, the Nobel prize comes as a recognition to humanitarian relief workers and to resilient populations all over the world. However, the prize also comes as a strong reminder that hunger is a basic deprivation, immediately affecting the most vulnerable when difficult times arise and that efforts to combat food insecurity must be upscaled.
According to the Report The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020, the number of people affected by hunger globally has been on the rise since 2014 thus confirming that we are not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. Covid – 19 has contributed to the increase of hunger in the world and the Norwegian Nobel Committee has noted the ability of the WFP to intensify its effort during 2020. Further, the Committee notes the linkages between armed conflict and food insecurity thus emphasizing the need to increase attention to food security in favor of peace.
David Beasley, Executive Director of the WFP has warned that 270 million people currently face starvation while wealth continues to increase globally even through the pandemic. Further, a recent FAO report Gendered impacts of Covid-19 and equitable policy responses in agriculture, food security and nutrition states that the pandemic response is already having a gender-differentiated impact as has happened with previous crisis that document how women are hit harder during difficult times. Among those most vulnerable affected by hunger, we find women and girls.
Food insecurity in Latin America has tripled and doubled in West and Central Africa according to Care International. Several countries report that people have had the need to reduce the number of meals they eat given difficulties to access food. This reality is affecting both developing and developed nations even though improvement in gender disaggregate data is required to be able to design public policy more accurately.
As our initial Open letter as GWL Voices for Change and Inclusion stated, we take the opportunity of this important recognition to call on leaders to redouble efforts for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as the agreed upon global agenda capable of the transformations the world needs. While Covid – 19 represents additional challenges, it also represents an opportunity to ensure that fresh resources allocated for the response are invested to construct those transformations placing people at the center.
GWL Voices call is specially directed to the need for gender-based analysis for response policies, particularly regarding food security, given the special circumstances of vulnerability of women in general and rural women in particular, who face greater constraints to access resources deeply affecting their income generating capacity and their ability to provide for their families. Experience shows that women are instrumental to address crisis and that providing them tools to do so makes them efficient partners for development.
GWL Voices supports the Declaration on the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations which emphasizes the commitment to put women and girls at the center and calls for the need to celebrate the prize awarded to the WFP, while acknowledging the call to redouble efforts to address global hunger and particularly its impact on women and girls.