Pope Francis, British nature television operator David Attenborough, the World Health Organization and Belarusian dissident Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya are among the nominees for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, backed by Norwegian lawmakers with experience in choosing the winner.
Candidates for the award include Greta Thunberg, Myanmar’s government of national unity, formed by opponents of last year’s coup, and Tuvaluan Foreign Minister Simon Coffe, according to last-minute reports Monday.
Thousands of people, from members of parliament around the world to former winners, have the right to nominate candidates.
Norwegian lawmakers have nominated a potential peace winner every year since 2014 – except 2019 – including one of last year’s two winners, Maria Resa.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which decides who will win the prize, has not commented on the nominations, keeping the names of the nominees and unsuccessful nominations secret for 50 years.
But some nominees, such as Norwegian lawmakers, choose to reveal their choices.
Election of deputies
Attenborough, 95, is best known for his remarkable television series illustrating the natural world, including Life on Earth and the Blue Planet.
He was nominated jointly with the Intergovernmental Scientific and Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which assesses the state of global biodiversity for politicians.
They were nominated for “their efforts to inform and protect the Earth’s natural diversity, a prerequisite for sustainable and peaceful societies,” said nominee Une Bastholm, leader of the Norwegian Green Party.
Another Green Party nominee is Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, whose rise from a teenage activist to a global climate leader has made her a frequent Nobel Prize nominee in recent years, along with the Fridays for the Future movement she launched.
Pope Francis was nominated for his efforts to help resolve the climate crisis, as well as for his work for peace and reconciliation by Doug Inge Ulstein, a former minister for international development.
Tuvaluan Foreign Minister Simon Coffe has been nominated by Norwegian Liberal Party leader Guri Melby for his work on highlighting climate change.
Environmentalists have won Nobel Peace Prizes in the past, including Kenyan activist Wangari Maatai, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former US Vice President Al Gore.
However, “there is no scientific consensus on climate change as an important driver of a violent battle,” said Henrik Urdal, director of the Institute for Peace Research in Oslo, warning of “too simplistic a link between the two.”
The coronavirus pandemic has been at the center and the focus of people’s concerns for the past two years, and this year the international body in charge of fighting it, the WHO, has been nominated again.
“I think the WHO will probably be discussed in the committee for this year’s award,” Urdal said.
Myanmar’s National Unity Government, a shadow government formed last year by opponents of military rule after civilian leader and former Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was detained in a coup, has also been nominated as a candidate.
Belarusian opposition leader in exile Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya has been nominated for the second year in a row for her “brave, tireless and peaceful work” for democracy and freedom in her home country, said parliamentarian Haarek Elvenes.
Other nominations revealed by Norwegian lawmakers include jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, the International Criminal Court in The Hague, WikiLeaks and Chelsea Manning, NATO, the humanitarian organization CARE, Iranian human rights activist Masih Alinejad and the Arctic Council. Arctic nations, according to a Reuters survey of Norwegian lawmakers.
The nominations, which ended on Monday, do not require approval by the Nobel Committee. The winner for 2021 will be announced in October.