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Sir David Attenborough attends the naming ceremony of the polar research ship the RSS Sir David Attenborough on September 26 2019 in Birkenhead, England. Picture: WPA/GETTY IMAGES/ASADOUR GUZELIAN
Sir David Attenborough attends the naming ceremony of the polar research ship the RSS Sir David Attenborough on September 26 2019 in Birkenhead, England. Picture: WPA/GETTY IMAGES/ASADOUR GUZELIAN

Oslo — British nature broadcaster David Attenborough, the World Health Organisation and Belarusian dissident Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya are among the nominees for 2022’s Nobel Peace Prize, after being backed by Norwegian legislators who have a track record of picking the winner.

Also among the candidates for the accolade are Pope Francis, the Myanmar National Unity Government formed by opponents of 2021’s coup and Tuvalu’s foreign minister Simon Kofe, last-minute announcements showed.

Thousands of people, from members of parliaments worldwide to former winners, are eligible to propose candidates.

Norwegian legislators have nominated an eventual Peace laureate every year since 2014 — with the exception of 2019 — including one of the two laureates in 2021, 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 such as Norwegian legislators choose to disclose their picks.

Nature and Covid-19

Ninety-five-year-old Attenborough 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 policymakers.

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.

Pope Francis was nominated for his efforts to help solve the climate crisis as well as his work towards peace and reconciliation, by Dag Inge Ulstein, a former minister of international development.

Tuvalu's foreign minister, Simon Kofe, was nominated by the leader of Norway’s Liberal Party, Guri Melby, for his work in highlighting climate change issues.

Environmentalists have won the Nobel Peace Prize in the past, including Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former US 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.

The Myanmar National Unity Government, a shadow government formed in 2021 by opponents of military rule after civilian leader and former peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was detained in a coup, was also named as a candidate.

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 disclosed by Norwegian legislators 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 co-operation for Arctic nations, according to a Reuters survey of Norwegian legislators.

Nominations, which closed on Monday, do not imply an endorsement from the Nobel committee.

The 2021 laureate will be announced in October.



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