Minister Tvinnereim’s Speech at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum 2021

"We are in a race to get over to the right side of history by 2030. We must make people see that food is an irreplaceable ingredient in the recipe of peace, and of eliminating hunger and poverty", Minister Tvinnereim said in her speech at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum 11 December.

Dear Mr. Beasley,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Just like good food – peace has many ingredients.

But – tragically – so does conflict.

One of conflict’s main ingredients is the lack of food.

Few things spell out injustice more than people starving.

It is as heart-breaking as it is mind-breaking.

Famine and starvation should not occur in a world that produces enough food for everyone.

History has a way of repeating itself – especially when it comes allowing hunger to stand in the way of peace.

Already in 1922 – Fridtjof Nansen was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing food to refugees in need.

Norman Borlaug – who was honored in 1970 for his contribution to global food security – possibly saving a billion lives – put it this way:

“Man seems to insist on ignoring the lessons available from history.”

Even today – when media headlines are occasionally hit by food crises and famines – most people continue scrolling.

An important part of my job as minister of international development is to make food become part of the everyday global agenda.

Also in the time between the famines.

So the excellent interventions we have heard from all the distinguished speakers today have really been helpful to me.

We must do what we can to make people see that food is an irreplaceable ingredient in the recipe of peace.

To see The Food Effect.


Last year – the Nobel Peace Prize Committee picked an organization that has found this recipe.

The World Food Programme – and its leader – David Beasley – has demonstrated exactly the qualities we need in order to solve the enormous challenges faced by the world right now:

The combined will to act quickly in the face of crisis – and the ability to do the visionary planning which will prevent new crises from arising.

Together – we should use the Committee’s excellent choice as the stepping-stone we need – in order to create a milestone moment – in the way humanity sees food as a pathway to peace.


Eradicating extreme poverty during this decade – and reaching all the Sustainable Development Goals – is the most effective thing we can do to prevent conflict in the future.

But we won’t get there unless we work to end conflict at the same time.

The 283 million people suffering from acute food insecurity are paying the price for our failure to deal with the root causes of hunger.

We need to think differently.

Day in and day out – the World Food Programme – is providing food for those in need.

They are showing that the recipe of peace consists of wisdom – of the ability to see where help is needed – of logistical talent – and of the courage of each and every employee to bring salvation to the danger spots of the world.


The World Food Programme does more than addressing symptoms.

They are helping us to fill the gaps between humanitarian assistance and long-term development.

This gap must be bridged if we are to eradicate extreme poverty.

A long-term poverty-reducing tool like education will be little worth if conflicts empty classrooms – and stomachs.

The WFP has been the facilitator of an impressive coalition on school meals – shaped in connection with the UN Food System Summit – of which Dr. Agnes Kalibata has spoken today.

On Thursday – I signed an agreement with WFP – where Norway provides 50 million kroner to their home-grown school meals program.

It is about providing nutritious meals – and getting local farmers and communities involved.

So that helping in the time of need can also sow the seeds of future growth.


Many of the humanitarian crises we face are predictable.

That’s why we are also working with the World Food Program on forecast-based financing.

We want to anticipate disasters – and mitigate their impact.

Speaking of disasters – there is hardly any higher risk to international peace and security than climate change.

As Professor Rockström has just underlined – climate change is rapidly changing the world for millions of small-scale farmers already.

That is why climate adaptation and support for small-scale farmers will be crucial for the new Norwegian government.

So will giving people access to renewable energy.

We will lend small-scale farmers a hand – enabling them to do climate smart agriculture – and to break out of the poverty trap at the same time.

Our hand will stretch all the way from improving food chains and providing early weather warning – to providing them with seeds that can withstand more rain, more drought and more heat.

In the fight against poverty – I cannot imagine a potentially stronger ally than a force of half a billion farmers – ready to take their future in their own hands.

And to create positive ripple effects across their societies.

We are also using our seat in the Security Council to work towards a more proactive Council when warned about the risk of conflict-induced famine.

And to make the Council speak out more strongly – with one voice – against the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare.


So – the war against poverty and hunger is being fought on many fronts – from the assembly halls of New York to the cassava fields of Congo and the border crossings of Yemen.

As it must – since we find ourselves in a race to reach the global goals by 2030.

There is no way we will get there unless we learn from the World Food Programme’s grip – the Beasley grip – of the obvious connection between food and peace.

Between patience and impatience – in equal amounts.

That is the recipe we must follow in this race to get over to the right side of history – in time.

So that we finally stop insisting on ignoring the lessons of our past.

Thank you.