The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been named the recipient of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
For the second year in a row, the name of the winner was leaked early. Norwegian broadcaster NRK reported early on Friday morning that this year's award would go to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, defying odd-makers who had predicted that it would go to Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai. NRK correctly the predicted that the European Union would win last year's prize, despite the highly secretive nature of the committee's work.
The OPCW is tasked with destroying the chemical weapons that belong to Syria, but as many people were quick to point out, they haven't actually accomplished that task yet. (However, the Nobel spokespeople insisted that the award was given for their overall body of work, not what they've done in Syria.) Others have also noted the irony that OPCW has won the award in 2013, the first year in decades that chemical weapons were deployed in battle on a large scale. The committee itself even pointed out that the United States and Russia have yet not destroyed all of their own chemical weapons, despite signing the treaty that created the OPCW and demanded that countries disarm.
It seems that once again, the Nobel committee (despite their official stance stating otherwise) decided to use the award as a symbolic gesture and a hopeful reminder of what needs to be done, as much as a recognition of past achievements.
OPCW has NOT been given the #NobelPeacePrize because of Syria but because of its long standing work.— Nobelprize_org (@Nobelprize_org) October 11, 2013
Shocked Malala didn't win Nobel peace prize. OPCW wins same way Obama did in '09 - w/no actual work to judge, just hoping for a good ending— Maria Abi-Habib (@Abihabib) October 11, 2013
It doesn't address why the Nobel committee keeps awarding prizes to people and organisations before they've actually done anything.— Matthew Teller (@matthewteller) October 11, 2013
Colleague just pointed out that one V.Putin has done rather more to stop the use of chem weapons in Syria than OPCW.— Damon Wake (@damonwake) October 11, 2013
Group wins #NobelPeacePrize for a job they haven't finished. Looking forward to my Nobel Lit prize for that book I haven't started writing— Julia Macfarlane (@juliamacfarlane) October 11, 2013
It also seems that the general public was not only ones suprised by the OPCW's win:
Here are the names of all the other Nobel winners, announced earlier this week. A list of all previous Peace Prize winners can be found here.
Monday, October 7
Physiology or Medicine: James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman, and Thomas C. Südhof
Tuesday, October 8
Physics: François Englert and Peter Higgs
Wednesday, October 9
Chemistry: Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel
Thursday, October 10
Literature: Alice Munro
Friday, October 11
Peace: Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
Monday, October 14
Economic Sciences: 1:00 p.m. CET at the earliest (7:00 a.m. EDT)