ROME (DNA) – Waking up this morning in the beautiful city of Rome, it is hard to imagine that in about 400 AD this city experienced a massive famine that ended up killing almost 90% of its population. Students of history associate something else with that ancient date: the beginning of the Fall of the Roman Empire. Now, did the famine cause the fall? Or did the fall cause the famine? I think the answer is yes — both.
Waking up in this wealthy, modern, technologically advanced world, it’s hard to imagine us going through a famine like that. But my tragic duty today is to tell you: famine is at humanity’s doorstep. For millions and millions of people on earth.
Failure to prevent famine in our day will destroy so many lives and cause the fall of much we hold dear.
On behalf of Secretary-General Guterres of the United Nations, our Board, our sister agencies, our incredible partners and donors and most importantly on behalf of 19,000 peacemakers at the World Food Programme, and for all those who came before us, especially those who died in the line of duty and their families who carry on, and on behalf of the 100 million hungry people we serve, to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, thank you, for this great honour.
Also, thank you for acknowledging our work of using food to combat hunger, to mitigate againstdestabilization of nations, to prevent mass migration, to end conflict and… to create stability and peace.
We believe food is the pathway to peace.
I wish today that I could speak of how working together we could end world hunger for all the 690 million people who go to bed hungry every night. But, today we have a crisis at hand.