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In 2021, conflict was the primary driver of food insecurity around the world, with 99 million people in 23 countries experiencing acute food insecurity due to unrest and insecurity.

The UN Security Council acknowledged the link between conflict and hunger, and condemned the use of starvation as a weapon of war, when it adopted its landmark Resolution 2417 in 2018. This recognized the need to break the vicious cycle between armed conflict and hunger, establishing accountability for those who exploit starvation for their own ends.

Zero hunger cannot be achieved without stability – this is why WFP plays a key role in building pathways to peace. This was formally highlighted in October 2020, when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to WFP for “its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”. 

Food insecurity inevitably worsens when fighting drives large numbers of people from their homes, land and livelihoods, and when it restricts access to people in need of life-saving assistance. WFP has invested in research to identify best practices in contributing to peace. Initial findings from a joint research partnership with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), focusing on El Salvador, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan and Mali, indicated that WFP’s work contributed to improving the prospects for peace by: enhancing access to contested natural resources (e.g. water, land); bolstering social cohesion and resolving grievances within and between communities; increasing opportunity and inclusion, including for youth; and increasing citizen-state trust by contributing to strengthening state accountability and service delivery.

WFP partners with peace actors who are mandated and equipped to directly address the structural drivers of conflict and vulnerability, while also strongly advocating their work.

In 9 out of 10

of the worst hunger crises, conflict is one of the main drivers

99 million

people in 23 countries experiencing acute food insecurity due to conflict and insecurity in 2020

About 2/3

of WFP’s life-saving assistance goes to people facing severe food crises, most of them caused by conflict

World Food Programme - The 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate