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Nobel Peace Prize 2013

On 10 December, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) received the Nobel Peace Prize for its work to achieve a world free from chemical weapons. Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja attended the formal ceremony at Oslo City Hall


Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü accepted the prize on behalf of the OPCW. In his lecture he identified the combination of passion and practicality as the key to successful disarmament. More than moral arguments are needed; verification methods and cost-benefit analyses must be employed and the commercial advantages of treaty compliance made clear. Mr Üzümcü paid tribute to the people working in the field under difficult conditions, such as those in Syria today, and expressed his conviction that the organisation will achieve its aim.

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

The OPCW was established in the wake of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force in 1997. The Convention prohibits the production, storage, trade, transfer and use of chemical weapons. The OPCW works to ensure the implementation of the Convention’s provisions.  

In its official statement on the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2013, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said:

The conventions and the work of the OPCW have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law. Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons. (…)
Disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel’s will. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has through numerous prizes underlined the need to do away with nuclear weapons. By means of the present award to the OPCW, the Committee is seeking to contribute to the elimination of chemical weapons.

Audience at the Royal Palace

Prior to the awards ceremony, Ahmet Üzümcü was granted an audience at the Royal Palace. He was received by King Harald. Queen Sonja was also in attendance.  

Paid tribute to Nelson Mandela

At the same time as the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony was taking place, a memorial service for Nelson Mandela was being held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mr Mandela was awarded the Peace Prize in 1993 together with then president F.W. de Klerk for their efforts to abolish apartheid and create a new, democratic South Africa.

His Royal Highness The Crown Prince represented Norway at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, and was unable to attend this year’s Nobel awards ceremony for that reason.  

Nobel Banquet and Peace Prize Concert

On the evening of 10 December, King Harald and Queen Sonja attended the traditional Nobel Banquet held at the Grand Hotel in Oslo in honour of the Peace Prize Laureate.

The Nobel Peace Prize Concert will take place on the evening of 11 December in Oslo Spektrum. Performers from around the world will come together in a musical tribute to the Peace Prize and the OPCW.   

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