The World Council of Churches (WCC) welcomed and celebrated the award of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize to the UN World Food Programme. “We express our gratitude and congratulations to the leadership and each staff member of the World Food Programme,” said Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, WCC interim general secretary. “This vital multilateral organisation comprises many dedicated people, working in the remotest and most vulnerable regions of the world, affected by conflict, climate catastrophe and economic crises.”
The World Food Programme’s contribution has become even more important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the number of people facing acute food insecurity has nearly doubled to 265 million in 2020, from 135 million in 2019. “People of faith, who are deeply rooted in their communities, are witness to the World Food Programme’s heroic, sacrificial, and consistent responses to hunger, and have been privileged to serve as partners in many such contexts,” said Sauca.
As faith communities celebrate Churches’ Week of Action on Food, many are emphasizing the moral imperative of addressing hunger and food insecurity. However, in many places, funding allocated to support millions of vulnerable people needing lifesaving assistance is being reduced, due to the lack of resources or changed priorities.
“People of faith are committed to stand and act with the World Food Programme, to protect people’s livelihoods, wellbeing and daily sustenance for all, especially for those experiencing the harsh reality of hunger, during these difficult times,” said Sauca. “We pray for solidarity among the world’s nations that such support is extended to the most marginalised communities within each society.”
During the Churches’ Week of Action on Food, being observed this year from 11-17 October, the WCC, Christian Conference of Asia, and Pacific Conference of Churches are inviting all people of goodwill to attend an online prayer service on 16 October, World Food Day, in the different regions.
The service in the Pacific will be held at 10 am Suva, Fiji time (9 am Sydney, 11 am Auckland).
In Asia the service will be held at 11 am Bangkok time, (9.30 am New Delhi, 12 noon Beijing).
For Africa, the Americas and Europe, the service will be held at 4.30 pm Central European time.
The gatherings will involve leaders from the respective regions and the reflections will be offered by Sofía Monsalve Suárez, secretary-general of FIAN International.