‘World Is at a Crossroads’ Stresses WFP Head David Beasley in Copenhagen
20 October 2020
EIRNS—David Beasley, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), was the guest speaker at an event at the Danish Institute for International Affairs (DIIS) today, together with Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Rasmus Prehn, and a DIIS researcher. Beasley’s visit to Copenhagen, 10 days after it was announced that the WFP would receive this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, is most probably connected with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) High-Level Humanitarian Event on the Central Sahel tomorrow. The hour-long DIIS event, which took place in English, is entitled, “Food Aid: Creating Peace, or Prolonging Conflict”.
The Schiller Institute intervened by sending the following package to members of parliament, all embassies, and Danish press: Phillip Tsokolibane’s statements on “A Matter of Life or Death— Call for International Mobilization of Food Resources To Fight Starvation in Africa”; a link to Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s video “Stopping Hunger in Africa—A Moral Test for Americans”; and the Oct. 17 remarks by EIR’s Marcia Merry Baker on what U.S. agriculture can do.
Beasley began by saying that receiving the Nobel Peace Prize is bigger than the WFP. The world is at a crossroads. This can help jump-start what needs to be done to face the next 12-18 months. It requires something magnificent.
He was in the Sahel when he got the news about the Nobel Peace Prize, amidst starvation and war. He has spent the last three years beating the drum about the situation in places like the Sahel, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Ethiopia. He said, 60% of hunger occurs in conflict areas, and 80% of the WFP’s aid goes to war zones. If there is no food security, there will be no peace. If nothing else, leaders have to realize that their own national security is at stake. We need an integrated response. Development Minister Rasmus Prehn stressed how peace and preventing hunger are combined. We not only have to give out food, but give people the skills and opportunity to grow their own food. We can’t accept people starving. Their infrastructure doesn’t function. The Danish people will do their part.
Asked about problems with international solidarity, Beasley said that he helped increase the U.S. contribution to the WFP from $1.9 billion in 2016 to $3.4 billion. The biggest problem with fundraising from world leaders is that the media are only focused on Brexit and Trump, or now COVID and Trump. 500 million people are living in destabilized areas from the Sahel through the Middle East. You have to solve one of the situations, like Syria, or Yemen, which can be done, and then go on to the next. We can eliminate hunger if we stop the conflicts. I speak heart to heart with the parties involved to stop the conflicts. We use food as a weapon of peace.
On Oct. 20, the UN’s Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs put out a statement on the High-Level Humanitarian Event on the Central Sahel being hosted by the governments of Denmark, Germany, the European Union, and the United Nations. The event will feature a ministerial round table that will take place on Oct. 20 and webcast at 8:30 a.m. U.S. EDT (04:30 UTC) on UN Web TV. It is meant to be a follow-up on a senior officials’ meeting on Sept. 8 that focused on operational lessons learned and forward-looking plans relating to humanitarian action, development, and peace efforts, including special attention to the impact and consequences of COVID-19.