09/26/2013 04:22 EDT | Updated 11/25/2013 05:12 EST

Right Livelihood Awards, 'alternative Nobels,' to US, Congolese, Palestinian, Swiss

STOCKHOLM - An American anti-chemical weapons advocate, a Palestinian human rights campaigner, a Congolese surgeon who helps war victims and a Swiss pioneer of pest control in sustainable agriculture have been named as winners of this year's Right Livelihood Awards, also known as the "alternative Nobels."

Paul Walker, U.S. director of environmental security at Green Cross International, will share the 2 million Swedish kronor ($312,000) prize with Palestinian lawyer Raji Sourani, surgeon Denis Mukwege and Hans Rudolf Herren and the Biovision Foundation he founded 15 years ago.

It is the first time the prize committee has honoured a Palestinian or a Swiss. The awards were founded in 1980 by Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull to recognize work he thought was ignored by the Nobel Foundation.