The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Awarding the prestigious medal the Nobel Norwegian Nobel Committee said:
"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. Some states are still not members of the OPCW. Certain states have not observed the deadline, which was April 2012, for destroying their chemical weapons. This applies especially to the USA and Russia."
The political campaign to bring chemical weapons inspectors into Syria, rather than take military action was prompted by British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.
TOP NEWS STORIES TODAY
It was also suggested Russian President Vladimir Putin could be nominated for the prize for resisting military action in Syria.
"During World War One, chemical weapons were used to a considerable degree. The Geneva Convention of 1925 prohibited the use, but not the production or storage, of chemical weapons," the Nobel committee said.
"During World War Two, chemical means were employed in Hitler’s mass exterminations. Chemical weapons have subsequently been put to use on numerous occasions by both states and terrorists," it added.
The OPCW, as it is known, was established in 1997 and is based in The Hague, the Netherlands.
Experts from the watchdog are working to destroy Syria's massive chemical weapons stockpile after a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus in August killed more than 1,400 people.
WHAT DOES THE OPCW DO?
The OPCW has conducted more than 5,000 inspections in 86 countries. It says 100% of the declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been inventoried and verified.
According to its statistics, 57,740 tonnes, or 81.1%, of the world's declared stockpile of chemical agents have been verifiably destroyed. Albania, India and "a third country" believed to be South Korea have completed destruction of their declared stockpiles. An OPCW report released earlier this year said the United States had destroyed about 90% of its stockpile, Russia had destroyed 70% and Libya 51%.
Thirteen OPCW members have also declared a total of 70 chemical weapons production facilities. The organization says all 70 have been taken out of commission including 43 destroyed altogether and 21 converted to peaceful purposes.
The decision surprised many who had tipped Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban to education to receive the world's top peace award.
Normally the award process is shrouded in secrecy but this year's result slipped out more than an hour before it was formally announced.
Previous Nobel peace prize winners include Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.