A call for international solidarity

Photo: Giulia Gustavsen Angelini / Nobel Peace Center

Four Nobel Peace Prize laureates conveyed strong messages at the Fix the Food Conference Friday.

"Without peace we will not have food security and without food security we will not have peace."
Dag-Inge Ulstein, Minister of International Development, Norway

In his opening speech at Fix the Food Conference, Norwegian Minister of International Development, Dag-Inge Ulstein, stressed the link between food and peace. A link that was put on top of the agenda when the World Food Programme was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 – and stayed there. Friday, the Nobel Peace Center and the World Food Programme co-hosted the international peace conference Fix the Food, with four Nobel Peace Prize laureates, experts on food and food systems, activists and peace practitioners.

Peace and food are closely interlinked

The message from the Nobel Peace Prize laureates was clear: Peace, democracy and international solidarity are prerequisites for reaching the goal of ending world hunger.

As David Beasley, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, pointed out: There is enough food in the world to feed every single person, yet 811 million people go to bed hungry every night.”

Journalist, peace activist and Nobel Peace laureate Tawakkol Karman was clear on the connection between hunger and bad governance: “Warlords do not concern themselves with how to secure food for people”, she said. Her home country Yemen is experiencing the largest humanitarian conflict in our times, and holds presently WFP’s largest international operation.

José Ramos-Horta, the former President of East-Timor who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996, pointed out the international community’s responsibility:

“Food security, availability of food for everyone, for the poorest of the poor, is an ethical, moral issue. And hunger is a solvable problem".

Climate, health and hunger

The connection between the climate crisis, the international health crisis and the hunger crisis in the world was also punctuated by many of the speakers at Fix the Food, among them professor Johan Rockström from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and Colombia’s former President Juan Manuel Santos, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016.

“As we learned in Colombia, food security, peace building and climate crisis mitigation are highly interdependent. That is a lesson we must never forget.”

EAT's Executive Chair, Gunhild Stordalen, was one of the speakers who participated live from the stage in Oslo. She brought fresh news from the UN Food Systems Summit the previous day, where more than 100 countries had defined their national food systems pathways, thus recognizing that food is a prerequisite for achieving the SDGs by 2030.

“The food Summit has come and gone but the hard work of transforming our food systems is only just beginning. So please come onboard”, she said, inviting everyone to take part in a common “dugnad” to fix the food.