HEALTH/ INTERNATIONAL/ GOVERNANCE
Topic: General Studies 1,2:
- Contemporary World History (UN & its challenges)
- Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
The message in the Peace Nobel
Context: 2020 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the World Food Programme (WFP).
Paradox of Present Times
- At a time when cross-national and global challenges have increased Nation states are less willing to cooperate and collaborate to tackle them effectively.
- When the lives of people are at stake, active collaboration would have enhanced our collective ability to overcome what has become a public health-cum-economic crisis (COVID-19 Pandemic)
- But we live in an era when nationalist urges, fuelled by a political opportunism, diminish the appeal of international cooperation.
- One would have expected that countries, particularly those with technological and financial capabilities, would agree to pool their resources together to work on an effective and affordable anti-virus vaccine.
- Instead, there are several parallel national efforts under way even as WHO has put together a Covax alliance for the same purpose.
Do You Know?
- According to the WFP, 132 million more people could become malnourished as a consequence of the pandemic.
- To the 690 million people who go to bed each night on an empty stomach, perhaps another 100 million or more will be added.
About World Food Programme (WFP)
- Founded in 1961, WFP is the food assistance branch of United Nations
- It deals with hunger eradication and promotes food security in the world.
- WFP is funded completely by voluntary donations.
- It is a member of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and works in close tandem with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
- WFP partners with more than 1,000 national and international NGOs to provide food assistance and tackle the underlying causes of hunger.
- WFP is the largest humanitarian organisation implementing school feeding programmes worldwide
Significance of Nobel Peace Prize awarded to WFP
- Hunger as Weapon of War: For its efforts to combat hunger and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict, WFP was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.
- Need for International Cooperation: The message this award is sending to the world — that we need multilateralism as an expression of international solidarity.
- Dangers of Pandemic: The award is also a warning that the novel coronavirus pandemic is reversing the substantial gains made in the fight against hunger and poverty. The Nobel Prize to the WFP will nudge our collective conscience to come together and relieve this looming humanitarian crisis.
- Need for Funding: The WFP’s achievement are modest, not because it is an inefficient institution, but because it is perennially under-funded
Food Security and need of multilateralism
- Food, energy and water security are inter-linked with strong feedback loops. There exists inter-connectedness among these challenges.
- Enhancing food security may lead to diminished water and energy security. It may also have collateral impact on health security.
- Raising crop yields with current agricultural strategies means higher incremental use of chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides.
- India’s unprotected farmers are exposed to serious health risks as a result and often get bankrupted not due to crop failure but debilitating health costs.
- One has to realize of these inter-connections and hence come together to work collectively in a multilateral framework.
- A narrow Nationalistic approach to global challenges like Climate Change, hunger and Poverty will not be sustainable in long run
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are cross-domain but also cross-national in character, and hence demand greater multilateral cooperation in order to succeed.
- Thus, there is need for a more democratic world order since lack of cooperation from even a single state may frustrate success in tackling a global challenge
A fresh pandemic may erupt in any remote corner of the world and spread throughout the globe. Prevention cannot be achieved through coercion, only through cooperation. It is only multilateralism that makes this possible.
Connecting the dots: