UNITED NATIONS, New York — The 2010 United Nations Population Award was presented today by Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro to the two laureates: William and Melinda Gates and the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD). Every year, the Award is given to both individuals and institutions for their outstanding contribution to population issues and human welfare.
Both laureates have a long history of work in the population field. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is active in more than 100 countries, where it supports efforts to provide reproductive and maternal health, education, and more. The AFPPD works with parliamentarians to adopt laws on population, development, family planning, HIV and AIDS, gender-based violence and youth.
During the event, Bill Gates, Sr. accepted the award on behalf of his son and daughter-in-law, who were not able to attend the ceremony. He highlighted the problems that many family planning organizations are facing in receiving funding, saying, “quite simply, we stopped paying for one of the best health tools we have”. He emphasized that family planning and population issues must continue to be priorities, adding, “if we are serious about saving women’s lives, family planning must remain at the centre of the agenda.”
Yasuo Fukuda, a former Prime Minister of Japan and Chairman of the AFPPD, underlined the importance of population issues, saying that they are “not just simply a matter of statistics” but rather, “each statistic is a number that represents an individual person’s life.” In their work, the AFPPD exemplify this message.
Speaking on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro described Bill and Melinda Gates as individuals who “have stirred the minds and hearts of others in positions of power to invest in new ways to help the poor and vulnerable”. She went on to say, “they have demonstrated an exemplary humility about their life-changing contributions.”
The AFPPD, she added, “has successfully pushed for the introduction of legislation on the elimination of violence against women and on the full spectrum of population issues…It, too, is a worthy recipient of this award.”
Underscoring these words, Mr. Gates announced that, “Bill and Melinda have decided that the foundation will match the prize money for this award and make a grant for the total amount to the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development to help it continue the outstanding work for which it has been recognized today.”