Arctic Council as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize | Polarjournal
The Arctic, with its 8 states and numerous indigenous peoples, is not only a climatic and political-economic hotspot, but also cultural. In the Arctic Council, therefore, six indigenous representative organizations are also listed as permanent representatives, which have a say in the decisions. Picture: Michael Wenger

Because the Arctic has always been a political and economic hotspot and has become even more of a focus of the world community due to climate change, the Arctic Council was founded in 1996. Since then, despite all the world political tensions and differences, important topics have been discussed by the various states and indigenous representatives and solutions for all have been worked out. This form of cooperation has now brought the Arctic Council back into the candidate group for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

It is true that the Nobel Prize Committee does not have an official list of the candidates from whom this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner will be selected. However, some of the proposals that have been put forward have found their way into the public domain. And that includes, according to a report by Arctic Today, the Arctic Council. The honour of being one of the nominees is not new to the intergovernmental forum. The Council had already been proposed in 2018 and 2019 and was even considered a top finalist in 2019. This year,the other 317 candidates include illustrious names such as Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement, the World Health Organization, Reporters Without Borders or German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The committee will announce its decision next Friday, October 9.

Indeed, ministerial meetings are always in the public interest at the Arctic Council meetings. But the Council’s actual work takes place at so-called Senior Arctic Official Meetings, where the results of individual work groups are discussed on various topics and solutions are sought, which are then submitted to ministers. Photo: Arctic Council Secretariat – Linnea Nordström

The Arctic Council received the honour of being nominated by its commitment to peaceful and constructive cooperation between the various stakeholders in the northern polar region since its inception in 1996 and by providing a platform for this. Even as a different wind blows on the world political stage with tensions between Russia and the West, the Arctic Council continues to talk and mediate. The Council is chaired by one Member State on a two-year basis. At the moment, this is Iceland. In addition to the eight permanent members, which consist of the Nordic states and Canada, Russia and the USA, 6 indigenous organizations are also entitled to participate. A further 38 organisations and states are among the observers, including Switzerland and Germany. They have the right to attend meetings, but hold no decision-making power.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded since 1901 to persons or organizations that have been particularly committed to world peace and peace work or human rights. The first dignitary was the Swiss Henri Dunant in 1901 for the founding of the Red Cross. Picture: Henry Mühlpfordt – Own work CC BY-SA 3-0

A committee of five people elected by the Norwegian Parliament decides on the recipient of the prize from the list of candidates. The prize, endowed with around € 1 million, has been awarded since 1901 and has been awarded 134 times so far. The International Committee of the Red Cross was the most frequent recipient and its founder Henri Dunant was the first recipient of the prize. The prize was donated by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel, who owes his wealth to the discovery of dynamite. Normally, the prize is presented in Stockholm at a large ceremony followed by a banquet. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee has decided that the prize will be handed over at a televised ceremony in the recipient’s country and the banquet will be cancelled completely.

Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal

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