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12 october 2020

— UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Friday, “I am delighted by the decision of the Nobel Committee to award this year’s Prize for Peace to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). The World Food Programme is the world’s first responder on the front lines of food insecurity. In a world of plenty, it is unconscionable that hundreds of millions go to bed each night hungry. Millions more are now on the precipice of famine due to the COVID‑19 pandemic. … I warmly congratulate David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, and the entire staff of the World Food Programme for advancing the values of the United Nations every day and serving the cause of ‘we the peoples’ as the Organization marks its seventy‑fifth anniversary year.”

Johanna Mendelson Forman writes at the Stimson Center website, “Much of the forward thinking at the World Food Program over the last four years goes to [Beasley]. With his leadership, and the dedication of a staff of more than 17,000 workers of which 90 percent reside in countries across the globe, he has taken the mission of the United Nations organization as a call for action. He has spoken out about the millions of people caught in a tangle of war, poor harvests due to drought, and now the consequences of a health crisis. This year WFP has fed more than 97 million people in 88 countries.”

Mark Leon Goldberg of UN Dispatch writes, “Conferring the Nobel Peace Prize on the World Food Program at this moment in history is an important statement of global solidarity. Today, about a quarter of a billion people are food insecure, which is up from about 130 million people from the year prior. Hunger and food insecurity is a global problem that requires multi-lateral cooperation to confront. The WFP is the UN agency that supports both emergency relief and also building resilience to food shocks among communities at the front lines of a climate-conflict-food security nexus. It is because of international cooperation facilitated by the World Food Program that 138 million people around the world know they can access their next meal.”

— Joshua Craze and Jérôme Tubiana argue in Foreign Policy in favor of a new refugee convention, writing that “he right of asylum has always been ambiguously positioned between law and geopolitics. When the U.N. Refugee Convention was first adopted in 1951, it applied only to Europeans trying to find their place in a new jigsaw of nations following World War II. All the focus of postwar discussion was on ‘non-refoulement, the principle that means asylum-seekers cannot be sent back to the countries from which they fled if they would continue to be persecuted there. … That refugees can’t legally be sent back to dangerous places, however, doesn’t mean that they are guaranteed a place to go.” They argue that the 1953 convention “is no longer fit for purpose,” and “the result, 70 years later, is a growing population of stateless people across the world — the very situation that the IRO and UNHCR were designed to prevent.”

— Alf Håkon Hoel of the University of Tromsø writes at High North News that increased international cooperation on the Arctic, including U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the implementation of the 2017 International Arctic Science Agreement, is needed.

— Citizens for Global Solutions Executive Director Bob Flax will appear on the FutureWAVE Films People-Powered Planet Podcast on Wednesday, October 14, at 1700 UTC.

— The New York Times runs excerpts “from a selection of panel discussions at the annual Athens Democracy Forum on global policy, held in association with The New York Times earlier this month. The panel descriptions are from the forum’s program. All the material has been edited and condensed.”

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