JUBA – United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley today congratulated leaders of Sudan and one of the country’s rebel groups for agreeing to principles to resolve their conflict including that freedom of religion would be guaranteed to all Sudanese in a civil, democratic federal state.

“It’s a great day, a day of peace,” Beasley said. “But peace is not made on paper. Peace is made in the heart. And these leaders have come together around the power of the heart. This spirit is the spirit that will carry forward South Sudan and Sudan to a great future for all the children will be blessed because the leaders this day are peacemakers.”

“At the U.N. World Food Programme, we use food as a weapon of peace. And at the United Nations, we’re grateful for the leadership and the support of everyone here,” he told a meeting of the two parties in the South Sudan capital of Juba.

“I look to the day that we (the U.N. World Food Programme) are no longer here because South Sudan and Sudan are not only feeding their own people, but they are feeding all of Africa and the rest of the world,” Beasley said. “But that can’t happen without the building blocks of peace.”

As part of the principles as the basis for resolving the conflict in Sudan, the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) agreed on the establishment of a civil, democratic federal state in Sudan where freedom of religion would be guaranteed to all Sudanese and the country should have a single professional national army committed to protecting national security.

Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan the Chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council of the Republic of Sudan signed the agreement on Sunday in Juba with Abdelaziz Adam al-Hilu, chairman of SPLM-N. The pact was witnessed by South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Beasley.

Beasley and Sudan Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok visited the Nuba Mountains in Sudan in January 2020 on a confidence building mission and were received by SPLM-N leader Al-Hilu. Beasley used his good offices to facilitate the first visit of Sudanese officials to non-government-controlled areas in South Kordofan in more than nine years.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA@WFPChief and @wfp_Africa

JUBA – Three United Nations organizations are calling for immediate humanitarian access to parts of South Sudan’s Pibor County in Jonglei State, where people have run out of food and are facing catastrophic levels of hunger according to a new Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report released today.

The high levels of hunger are being driven by insecurity, the effects of COVID-19, the economic crisis, and the impact of flooding on livelihoods, the report said. Humanitarian assistance is needed to save lives and avert a total collapse of livelihoods in hard-to-reach areas.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are scaling up their response, along with other humanitarian aid organizations.

“We call on all parties to stop the violence and to ensure safe humanitarian access in order to prevent an already dire situation from turning into a full-blown catastrophe,” FAO Representative in South Sudan Meshack Malo said.

“We are extremely concerned about the increased numbers of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. These children need urgent treatment to prevent them from dying. The data leave us with no doubt about the sense of urgency for all of us – Government, donor community and humanitarian actors – to join hands and ensure all these children get the treatment they need. At the same time, we need to invest more in actions to prevent children from becoming malnourished in the first place,” UNICEF Representative in South Sudan Mohamed Ayoya said.

“The U.N. World Food Programme is extremely worried about the rising numbers of people suffering because of the lack of sufficient food and nutrition, intensified conflict, unprecedented flooding and high food prices. The coming year will be extremely tough, but we are determined to do all we can to reach more people for longer periods of time,” said Makena Walker, Deputy Country Director of the U.N. World Food Programme in South Sudan.

Extreme Hunger in Parts of Pibor County

Figures in today’s report estimate that between October and November, 6.5 million people in South Sudan faced severe acute food insecurity and are in need of urgent assistance. This number is projected to grow to 7.24 million between April and July 2021.

Today’s report comes after two independent reports published by the IPC Global Support Unit last week which indicated that tens of thousands of people are likely to face famine conditions in Pibor county. In this situation, many families are experiencing high levels of acute malnutrition and even mortality. In another five counties (Akobo, Aweil South, Tonj East, Tonj North and Tonj South), some communities are facing catastrophic conditions, the independent analysis found.

Around 1.4 million children aged between 6 months and 5 years are expected to be acutely malnourished in 2021 and will need life-saving treatment, according to today’s report. This includes 313 000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition and more than a million children suffering from moderate acute malnutrition. At the same time, 483 000 pregnant or breastfeeding women are acutely malnourished and in need of treatment.

Emergency Response

The U.N. World Food Programme has already begun scaling up its lifesaving food and nutritional assistance to critically food insecure areas in Pibor County as well as other areas of concern, extending its humanitarian response beyond the usual lean season and increasing the number of vulnerable people who need support. In the past two months, the U.N. World Food Programme has extended its food assistance to nearly 80,000 people in Pibor County. Meanwhile, in Akobo East more than 40,000 people are currently receiving food assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme will continue to scale up its emergency food response working with partners to build community resilience and development. In total, the U.N. World Food Programme has provided food assistance to five million people in need in South Sudan in 2020.

UNICEF will further scale up its interventions supporting therapeutic treatment and stabilization centers in the most affected counties to protect and save children’s lives. This year, UNICEF has already treated 170,000 children affected by severe acute malnutrition, with a 94 per cent recovery rate. Further expansion of services is now urgently needed – including to insecure areas – for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition. UNICEF will continue to address the underlying causes of malnutrition such as malaria and diarrheal diseases caused by a lack of clean water, sanitation and hygiene, and investing in prevention of malnutrition through promotion of breastfeeding and good feeding practices for the young child.

FAO’s priority is to assist farming and agro-pastoral communities to increase their production and preserve their livelihoods. So far in 2020, over 100 000 farming families have received support to grow their own food from seeds, and more than 5 million animals have been vaccinated and treated to assist 164 000 households. FAO has also distributed 800 tonnes of emergency animal feed for critical animal stocks, especially in flood-affected locations.

For more information, contact:

Amanda Lawrence-Brown, amanda.lawrence-brown@wfp.org, +254707722105

Rome – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is honored to accept the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize on December 10 at 1 p.m. (CET), in a ceremony that recognizes our role in fighting hunger and fostering peace in conflict-affected areas.

U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley will receive the award on behalf of the agency and its 20,000 staff in a virtual ceremony that can be viewed worldwide here on the Nobel site.

World Food Program USA is hosting a Facebook Live event – The People’s Prize – at 7am ET here – a celebration of the remarkable history, people and partners who are behind the U.N. World Food Programme winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and reactions from U.N. World Food Programme staff around the world.

The Nobel recognition comes as famine again threatens millions of people, especially in four conflict-affected countries—Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria (northeast) and Burkina Faso, amid an alarming convergence of conflict, hunger and the COVID-19 pandemic.

MEDIA RESOURCES:

  • For information on the U.N. World Food Programme work as a first step to peace see here.
  • For photos, see here for footage of U.N. World Food Programme operations, including hunger hotspots, see here.
  • Broadcast quality footage and photos of the Nobel handover will be available afterwards. Direct your request to jonathan.dumont@wfp.org.
  • For interviews with country directors, staff and spokespeople, check here.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

For more information please contact:

  • Shaza Moghraby, WFP/New York, Mob. + 1 929 289 9867, shaza. moghraby@wfp.org
  • Steve Taravella, WFP/ Washington, Mob.  +1 202 770 5993, steve.taravella@wfp.org

ROME – The world has been put on a heightened famine alert with a new report by two United Nations agencies that contains a stark warning; four countries contain areas that could soon slip into famine if conditions there undergo “any further deterioration over the coming months.” These are Burkina Faso in West Africa’s Sahel region, northeastern Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen. The Early Warning Analysis of Acute Food Insecurity Hotspots – issued today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) – describes a toxic combination of conflict, economic decline, climate extremes and the COVID-19 pandemic that is driving people further into the emergency phase of food insecurity.

Parts of the population in the four hotspots of highest concern are already experiencing a critical hunger situation, with the report warning that escalations in conflict as well as a further reduction in humanitarian access could lead to a risk of famine.

But these four countries are far from being the only red flag on a world map that shows that acute food insecurity levels are reaching new highs globally, driven by a combination of factors, the report notes. Another 16 countries are at high risk of rising levels of acute hunger.

The aim of the Hotspots report is to inform urgent action that can be taken now to avoid a major emergency – or series of emergencies – in three to six months from today. How the situation evolves in the highest risk countries will depend on conflict dynamics, food prices, and the myriad impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their food systems, rainfall and harvest outcomes, humanitarian access, and the readiness of donors to continue funding humanitarian operations.

“This report is a clear call to urgent action,” said Dominique Burgeon, FAO’s Director of Emergencies and Resilience. “We are deeply concerned about the combined impact of several crises which are eroding people’s ability to produce and access food, leaving them more and more at risk of the most extreme hunger. We need access to these populations to ensure they have food and the means to produce food and improve their livelihoods to prevent a worst-case scenario.”

“We are at a catastrophic turning point. Once again, we face the risk of famine in four different parts of the world at the same time. When we declare a famine it means many lives have already been lost. If we wait to find that out for sure, people are already dead,” said Margot van der Velden, U.N. World Food Program Director of Emergencies.

“In 2011, Somalia suffered a famine that killed 260,000 people. The famine was declared in July, but most people had already died by May. We cannot let this happen again. We have a stark choice; urgent action today, or unconscionable loss of life tomorrow,” she warned.

Negative Trends Across the Board

All told, the joint report points to a total of 20 countries and contexts that are at “further risk of deterioration of acute food insecurity,” with key drivers of hunger including:

  • Expansion and intensification of violence
  • Economic crises exacerbated by COVID-19’s socioeconomic impact
  • Weather extremes
  • Transboundary threats like the Desert Locust
  • A lack of humanitarian access

It notes that in the Democratic Republic of the Congo there are 22 million people now estimated to be acutely food insecure – the highest number ever registered for a single country. Burkina Faso has registered the biggest increase with the numbers of desperately hungry people almost tripling compared to 2019, driven by increasing conflict, displacement and COVID-related impacts on employment and food access.

The situation is also dire in Yemen, where the existing food insecurity combined with conflict and a deepening economic crisis could lead to a further deterioration of an already critical food security situation.

Catastrophe/famine is the most severe of five phases used by the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system to chart escalating degrees of food insecurity. When this extreme phase is declared, it means that people have already started dying from starvation.

The Hotspots report is saying that, unless urgent action is now taken, the world could experience its first outbreak of famine since it was last declared in 2017 in parts of South Sudan.

This new report was developed under the Global Network Against Food Crises (GNAFC) – an alliance of humanitarian and development actors launched in 2016 by the European Union, FAO and the U.N. World Food Programme to tackle the root causes of food crises through shared analysis and knowledge, strengthened coordination in evidence-based responses, and collective efforts across the humanitarian, development and peace nexus.

Photos available here

Broadcast quality footage available here.

#                           #                          #

The U.N. World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA and @wfp_media

For more information, please contact:

  • Shaza Moghraby, WFP/New York, Mob. + 1 929 289 9867, shaza.moghraby@wfp.org
  • Steve Taravella, WFP/ Washington, Mob.  +1 202 770 5993, steve.taravella@wfp.org
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