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A look at the impact of recent Nobel Peace Prizes

First Published Oct 11 2013 08:25AM      Last Updated Oct 11 2013 08:25 am
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LUNDESTAD: "I like to think we have rather realistic ideas about what can be accomplished and what cannot be accomplished. But you wonder when you see very powerful governments, like the Chinese one, so afraid of what the effects of a Nobel Peace Prize to a dissident could be. I mean, really, they went to considerable lengths to prevent such a prize. Because they were afraid of what the results could be. Maybe the prize has had a greater effect than we occasionally think. Although of course we have to admit that in the short term the prize to Liu Xiaobo has not led to anything. But the Chinese response was very interesting just by itself."



2009 — PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA.

This prize was meant to encourage the U.S. to engage in multilateral diplomacy and was seen by many as implicit criticism of President George W. Bush’s foreign policy.

FALLOUT: Obama has remained committed to multilateral diplomacy, and even reached out to long-time foe Iran over its nuclear program. So in that respect he has fulfilled the aspirations of the prize committee. But he hasn’t closed down the Guantanamo Bay detention center, an issue that the committee highlighted in the 2009 award ceremony. Peace activists are also disappointed at the expanded use of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere under Obama’s administration.

LUNDESTAD: "It’s too early to judge on Obama’s presidency. And the committee doesn’t really sit down to evaluate past prizes because we have too much to do focusing on the current year. But I mean, ending two wars — Iraq and Afghanistan, too, is winding down — is a very significant achievement."

2008 — MARTTI AHTISAARI. This prize was essentially a lifetime achievement award for the Finnish peace mediator, who played a role in resolving conflicts in Namibia, Kosovo and Indonesia’s semiautonomous Aceh region. The committee didn’t attach any wider significance to the prize beyond hoping that "others may be inspired by his efforts and achievements."

FALLOUT: None directly, though he may have inspired others.

LUNDESTAD: "There is always the hope for more, that leading politicians will take up causes like this, trying to end conflicts and promoting peace."

2007 — AL GORE AND THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE.

The prize to the former vice president-turned-climate activist and the U.N.’s expert panel on global warming was supposed to spur world leaders into taking action to curb global warming by underlining the scientific assessments that climate change is man-made and poses a serious threat to mankind.

FALLOUT: Emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases have continued to rise and the world is still waiting for governments to reach a global deal to control them. One of the aspirations the committee expressed for Obama’s award two years later was that he would help clinch such a deal at a U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen, which only yielded modest voluntary pledges. Governments have now set 2015 as a deadline for a global climate deal.

LUNDESTAD: "Action is disappointingly slow. But these issues will have to be addressed. It takes time. ... And if we could help strengthen the scientific case, if only marginally, that’s fine."

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Associated Press writers Mark Lewis in Stavanger, Norway, Christopher Bodeen in Beijing and Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal, contributed to this report.

 

 

 

 

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