"Hunger is an outrage in a world of plenty," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Executive Board of the World Food Programme (WFP), highlighting the important role of food security in cementing peace.
"An empty stomach is a gaping hole in the heart of a society. A stunted child's growth in the mind is progress for her and for everyone," UN News quoted Guterres as saying on Monday to the WFP's Executive Board.
Guterres lauded WFP, the recipient of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, for delivering food to "the most remote locations, in the most dangerous situations, in the most challenging contexts", with enormous commitment, generosity and competence.
"With human need all around, and at times with bullets and bombs shrieking through the air, you brought life-saving assistance to vulnerable people in a way that is an example for the whole world.
"You provide hope not only by helping people to meet their immediate food and nutrition needs, but also enabling people to change their lives," he added.
He pointed to the important message at the heart of the decision by the Nobel Committee to award the Peace Prize to WFP this year, that "food is peace" and expressed his happiness that the agency's "absolutely outstanding" work was being recognized.
According to WFP figures, 690 million people do have not enough to eat, as 130 million more were at risk of being pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of the year.