Ukraine or climate? The Nobel Peace Prize explained in the context of multiple crises

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Will the Nobel Peace Prize nominated this year highlight the war in Ukraine or the fight against global warming? End of the suspense at 11 a.m. (09 a.m. GMT), Friday in Oslo, Sweden.

An award for critic Vladimir Putin? A warning signal in the face of the climate emergency? Or a completely different track, or even… no price at all? The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on Friday, October 7, in the midst of the war in Ukraine.

Highlight of the Nobel season, the prize will be announced at 11 a.m. (0900 GMT) in Oslo against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine which plunged Europe into one of the most serious crises since. the Second World War.

Of the applications, we only know the number, no names: 343 this year, or 251 individuals and 92 organizations. As always, the “Nobelologists” are therefore reduced to simple conjectures.

>> To read: The “impersonal autobiography” of Annie Ernaux, Nobel Prize for Literature


The war in Ukraine and its ravages have dominated international news since the beginning of the year, some believe that the Nobel Committee can hardly have ignored it.

“It is likely that we will have a prize that will one way or another point in the direction of Ukraine,” the director of the Oslo Peace Research Institute said on Thursday. Henrik Urdal, at the microphone of NRK radio.

In his eyes, the Belarusian opponents Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa and Russian Alexeï Navalny, scratching hairs of the Kremlin and one of its very few allies in the conflict, would thus be empowered.

Either the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, which in March ordered an immediate halt to the Russian offensive, or even the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) insofar as the hostilities have displaced millions of people.

Also mentioned are actors who document alleged war crimes such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), which also has its headquarters in The Hague, or the Bellingcat investigation site.

“A tense world”

The chances of the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who is preferred by the bookmakers, are on the other hand canceled as lesser as long as the veil of war has not yet been lifted.

Other Nobel observers lean towards a prize going to the climate cause, an area where all the indicators are red.

Mentioned as eligible for the Nobel Prize for several years despite her young age (19), the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg could thus win with, perhaps, her movement “Fridays for future”, the British naturalist and journalist David Attenborough or other activists.

The five members of the Nobel Committee may also have focused on a completely different theme or may have decided not to award the prize as they have done 19 times in the past, the last time just 50 years ago. .

According to the weak signals sent by the chair of the committee, a choice seems to have been made on one or more winners (they can be up to three).

The decision was “perhaps even more difficult” this year, Berit Reiss-Andersen was appointed to NRK, judging that “we live in a difficult security situation and a tense world”.

The Peace Prize crowned two champions of freedom of the press and information last year, Filipino journalist Maria Ressa and her Russian colleague Dmitry Muratov.

It is the only Nobel to be named in Oslo, the other disciplines being in Stockholm.

The other Nobels

On Monday, the Nobel Prize for Medicine opened the ball by crowning the Swede Svante Pääbo, father of Denisova’s man and discoverer of the DNA of Neanderthal man.

That of physics rewarded, Tuesday, the Frenchman Alain Aspect, the Austrian Anton Zeilinger and the American John Clauser for their discoveries on the revolutionary mechanism of “quantum entanglement”, proving wrong on this improbable phenomenon of quantum mechanics to Albert Einstein himself.

On Wednesday, a trio, the Americans Carolyn Bertozzi and Barry Sharpless jointly with the Dane Morten Meldal, were crowned in chemistry for “the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry”.

And Thursday, Annie Ernaux, author in particular of “Empty cabinets” and “The years”, became the first French woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, after 15 men.

The Nobel season will end next Monday with the economics prize, added in 1969 to the five traditional prizes provided for in Alfred Nobel’s will.

Winners of the last ten years of the Nobel Peace Prize:

2021: Filipino journalists Maria Ressa and Russian Dmitri Mouratov for “their courageous fight for freedom of expression”.

2020: The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) “for its efforts to combat hunger in the world”.

2019: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed “for his efforts in favor of peace” and in particular his “settlement initiative to settle the border conflict with Eritrea”.

2018: Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and Yazidie Nadia Murad who work to “end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war”.

2017: The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for averting the adoption of a landmark nuclear ban treaty.

2016: Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his commitment to end the armed conflict with the Farc guerrillas.

2015: The Quartet for Tunisian National Dialogue, civil society actors who helped save the democratic transition in Tunisia.

2014: Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan) and Kailash Satyarthi (India) “for their fight against the oppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”.

2013: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), for its efforts to rid the planet of these weapons of mass destruction.

2012: The European Union (EU), project that recovered to pacify a continent ravaged by two world wars.

With AFP


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