Who will be the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021?

OSLO: When the Nobel Peace Prize is announced on Friday, media watchdogs, Belarus opposition leaders, and climate campaigners including Greta Thunberg are likely to be among the nominees.

The renowned peace prize, the climax of the Nobel season, always sparks a flurry of anticipation.

Predicting the winner, on the other hand, is a gigantic guessing game.

There is no public shortlist, and all that is known is the number of nominations, which this year was 329. The identities of the nominees are also kept hidden for 50 years.

The renowned award’s image has taken damage in recent years as one of its previous laureates, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, became involved in a conflict.

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, for example, has been accused of defending the killing of Rohingya Muslims.

Experts believe that peace processes around the world have made little progress this year.

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As a result, media watchdogs Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), or the International Fact-Checking Network, as well as anti-corruption champion Transparency International, have been recommended as possible Nobel laureates.

According to Henrik Urdal, the chairman of the Oslo Peace Research Institute, the independent media is “both contributing directly to holding governments and movements accountable” and battling the “growing challenge (presented by) fake news and misinformation.”

– Ukraine’s opposition and climate activists –

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The nonviolent opposition in Belarus, which has criticized the August 2020 election result that granted strongman President Alexander Lukashenko a sixth term., has also been named as a prospective winner.

After her activist husband was imprisoned, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya became the major opposition candidate and is now leading the peaceful opposition from her exile in Lithuania.

The 39-year-old might win on her own or with Maria Kolesnikova and Veronika Tsepkalo, two other opposition leaders.

“It would be a powerful message highlighting the role of women and democracy all at the same time,” said Peter Wallensteen, a Swedish professor and conflict researcher.

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As Nobel historian Asle Sveen pointed out, awarding Svetlana a prize would be “indirectly like criticism of Putin,” because Russia is the Belarus regime’s biggest benefactor.

Sveen, on the other hand, said he would bet more on Greta Thunberg, a young Swedish climate activist.

Just weeks before the big COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow, and two months after the UN’s gloomy climate report, honoring effort to safeguard the climate would send a significant statement. 

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On Tuesday, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for work on climate models.

“Right now, it’s the most essential issue,” Sveen remarked.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and its Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa has also been mentioned as prospective laureates.

– Should the ceremony be held in person or online?

The World Health Organization has been hampered by controversy and the slow supply of vaccines in the Covax sharing system to poor nations, despite having a legitimate chance at winning the award during the pandemic.

It is, however, still a betting favorite.

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According to the Nobel committee’s secretary, Olav Njolstad, the COVID-19 pandemic had no impact on the nominations filed this year.

“One could think so,” he told AFP, “but we can count them on one hand.”

Other names making headlines this year, albeit to a lesser level, include the Norwegian Peace Council’s favorite, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, leading Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, and outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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Last year, the World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian organization combatting famine, received the award.

Last year’s spectacular banquet in Oslo honoring the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was canceled because of the pandemic, and it may be canceled again this year.

For the second year in a row, the Stockholm celebration honoring the victors in the sciences and literature has been canceled, with the laureates receiving their awards in their home countries.

The Nobel Institute in Oslo will decide whether to perform its celebration online or in-person in the following days.

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