After 18 turbulent months spent tackling the global Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) is being broadly tipped as the frontrunner to take this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
The United Nations agency, which runs the vaccine-sharing program COVAX, is certainly the bookmakers’ pick for the prestigious accolade. British firms Betfair and William Hill both rank WHO as the odds-on favorite to win, with odds of 5/4 and 6/4 respectively.
Though also a favorite in 2020, WHO lost out last year to the World Food Program, another UN body which helped almost 100 million people in 88 countries in 2019.
Every year the Norwegian Nobel Committee recognizes a person or organization for their outstanding efforts and actions in the promotion of peace. Of this year’s 329 nominees, 234 are individuals, while 95 are organizations. Under the rules, their names are fiercely guarded and they cannot be identified until 50 years after the winner is announced.
This year’s winner will be announced on October 8 at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo.
When Swedish businessman Alfred Nobel died in 1896, he left behind one of the world’s largest private fortunes. According to his will, he wanted the money to fund “prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.”
These, according to his will, were to be awarded in physics, chemistry, medicine or physiology, literature and peace. The Nobel Peace Prize, the will stated, should be awarded “to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses.”