FILE PHOTO: Sir David Attenborough delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain November 1, 2021. Steve Reigate/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
February 1, 2022
By Nora Buli
OSLO (Reuters) – British nature broadcaster David Attenborough, the World Health Organization and Belarusian dissident Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya are among the nominees for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize after being backed by Norwegian lawmakers who have a track record of picking the winner.
Thousands of people, from members of parliaments worldwide to former winners, are eligible to propose candidates.
Norwegian lawmakers have nominated an eventual Peace laureate every year since 2014, with the exception of 2019, including one of the two laureates last year, Maria Ressa.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which decides who wins the award, does not comment on nominations, keeping secret for 50 years the names of nominators and unsuccessful nominees.
However, some nominators like Norwegian lawmakers choose to reveal their picks.
Attenborough, 95, is best known for his landmark television series illustrating the natural world, including ‘Life on Earth’ and ‘The Blue Planet’.
He was nominated jointly with the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which assesses the state of biodiversity worldwide for policy-makers.
They were nominated for “their efforts to inform about, and protect, Earth’s natural diversity, a prerequisite for sustainable and peaceful societies,” said nominator Une Bastholm, the leader of the Norwegian Green Party.
Environmentalists have won the Nobel Peace Prize in the past, including Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore.
Still, “there is no scientific consensus on climate change as an important driver of violent combat,” said Henrik Urdal, director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, cautioning against a “too simplistic connection between the two”.
The coronavirus pandemic has been front and centre of people’s concerns over the past two years and this year the international body tasked with fighting it, the WHO, has again been nominated.
“I think the WHO is likely to be discussed in the Committee for this year’s prize,” said Urdal.
Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was nominated for the second year running for her “brave, tireless and peaceful work” for democracy and freedom in her home country, said parliamentarian Haarek Elvenes.
Other nominees revealed by Norwegian lawmakers are jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, the International Criminal Court in the Hague, WikiLeaks and Chelsea Manning, NATO, aid organisation CARE, Iranian human rights activist Masih Alinejad and the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum for cooperation for Arctic nations.
Nominations, which closed on Monday, do not imply an endorsement from the Nobel committee.
The 2021 laureate will be announced in October.
For a graphic of Nobel laureates, click here: http://tmsnrt.rs/2y6ATVW
(Editing by Gwladys Fouche and Toby Chopra)