The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize has been given to the World Food Programme (WFP), with the award committee stating that "the need for international solidarity and multilateral cooperation is more conspicuous than ever," according to NPR.
The award also mentioned that the organization—an arm of the United Nations—is being lifted up "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."
"Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I can't believe it!" David Beasley, the WFP's executive director, said in a video following the announcement.
"It's because of the WFP family," Beasley said. "They're out there in the most difficult, complex places in the world. Whether it's war, conflict, climate extremes — it doesn't matter. They're out there, and they deserve this award."
The award committee chose the food aid group out of the hundreds of nominees, including President Donald Trump.
Among those who were favorites to win the prize was climate activist Greta Thunberg and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
NPR reported that Beasley, a former governor of South Carolina, said the WFP's efforts have grown enormously as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
"Before COVID I had been giving speeches particularly in Europe and some in the United States, that 2020 was going to be the worst humanitarian crisis year since WWII," Beasley said.
He noted that "135 million people pre-COVID are on the brink of starvation. Because of COVID we are now looking at an additional 130 million people that will be knocking on the door of starvation for a total of about a quarter of a billion people."
The outlet continued by saying the US is the single largest donor to the WFP, accounting for $2.7 billion of the total $6.3 billion the UN organization has received so far this year. The US has moved to cut funding for the program after it was found that they were offering aid to Palestinians.
NPR reported: "From 2018 until now, the Trump administration has cut all its WFP funding for the West Bank and Gaza, as well as all other humanitarian aid for Palestinians. The funding cuts came after the Palestinian leadership severed ties with the U.S. in protest of the U.S. Embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."
The committee reportedly considered 318 candidates for the 2020 prize—the fourth-largest number on record.
The 2020 Nobel Prize brings a cash award of 10 million Swedish krona (about $1.12 million.)