OSLO -- The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is currently overseeing the destruction's of Syria's arsenal, won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.
The $1.25 million prize will be presented in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.
Earlier, Pakistani schoolgirl campaigner Malala Yousafzai had emerged as a favourite to take home the prestigious prize. It was almost exactly one year ago — Oct 9, 2012 — when two men flagged down a bus then 15-year-old Malala rode home from school in the Swat region of Pakistan and one of them shot her in the head and neck. As Malala has recuperated for her life threatening wounds, treated later in Birmingham, England, awards have been showered on her.
OPCW has since 1997 worked extensively across the world in destroying chemical weapons.
Experts from the Hague-based global chemical weapons watchdog, supported by the United Nations, are now working to destroy Syria's massive chemical weapons stockpile after a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus killed more than 1,400 people in August.
Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, which has a strong track record leaking the names of winners, reported the OPCW's victory more than an hour before the official announcement.
OPCW is an independent, international body set up in 1997 to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention.
It carries out inspections of destruction procedures, as well as evaluating members' own declarations, in order to verify that the convention is being adhered to.
It is based in The Hague and has 189 member states, covering around 98 per cent of the world's population. These member nations have agreed to work together to create a world free from chemical weapons.
The OPCW employs around 500 people and had a budget of 75m euros ($102m) in 2010.
It is an autonomous organisation with a working relationship with the UN.
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Original headline: Nobel Peace prize for chemical arms watchdog
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