The Geneva Convention left some loopholes open, though, the Norwegian committee said. It does not prohibit the production and storage of chemical weapons.
But in 1997, an international convention banning that as well was instituted.
About the OPCW
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague, in the Netherlands, is the independent implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international arms control treaty.
The Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in April 1997, at which point 87 states had ratified it, and the work of the OPCW to implement its provisions began at that point.
According to the treaty's wording, signatories are "determined for the sake of all mankind, to exclude completely the possibility of the use of chemical weapons, through the implementation of the provisions of this Convention."
Sixteen years later, more than 100 additional states have ratified the treaty. In September, Syria became the latest nation to ask to join the convention. It is due to enter into force in Syria on October 14, when it will become the 190th member state.
In the lead-up to the prize announcement Friday, the global media speculated that an individual would win, possibly Congolese physician Denis Mukwege, who treats victims of gang rape, or Malala Yousafzai, the teenage education activist from Pakistan whom a Taliban assassin shot for her work to promote education for girls.
Malala appeared to be the front-runner in headlines around the world.
CNN's Monita Rajpal asked Jagland why she did not win.
"Fortunately, we have many good candidates every year, actually this year, more than 250. And the woman you mentioned, Malala, is an outstanding woman, but we never comment on why she or others didn't get the prize," he said. "The right answer is that she didn't get the prize because OPCW got it. She and others will probably be candidates in the years to come."
A Twitter account in Malala's name sent out a message congratulating the OPCW and thanking it for its work. In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, which is to air at 7 p.m. Sunday, Malala said it might be premature for her to receive the Nobel Peace Prize this early in her life.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated the OPCW, saying it has "greatly strengthened the rule of law in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation."
"From the battlefields to the laboratories to the negotiating table, the United Nations is honored to work hand-in-hand with the OPCW to eliminate the threat posed by chemical weapons for all people and for all time," Ban said Friday.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also voiced congratulations. He highlighted the organization's role in Syria.
"The Nobel Committee has rightly recognized their bravery and resolve to carry out this vital mission amid an ongoing war in Syria," he said.
Last year, the Norwegian committee awarded the peace prize to the European Union as it grappled with the worst crisis since its founding -- devastating debt and the threat of disintegration.
The award was a salute to the struggling 27-nation union for its work in promoting democracy and reconciliation since World War II.
It is common for the Nobel Peace Prize to go to organizations.
Other large organizations that have won it include the United Nations, Doctors Without Borders, U.N. peacekeeping forces, the U.N. atomic energy agency, the Red Cross and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
The Peace Prize is the fifth Nobel Prize to be awarded this week, preceded by honors in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature.
The final Nobel Prize, recognizing achievement in the field of economics, will be awarded Monday.