Gates Foundation, Asian group win UN population prize

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 09, 2010 22:40 hrs

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) were selected Tuesday winners of the 2010 UN Population Award.

The award has been given out annually to individuals or groups for their outstanding work in population and in improving the health of individuals.

The foundation, established by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and his wife, has upheld a simple premise: 'All lives have equal values. Today, billions of people never have the chance to live a healthy and productive life,' said the UN Population's Funds (UNFPA) in announcing the prize winners.

The Gates Foundation has financed programmes on combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and extreme poverty through seed money that elicit participation from other wealthy donors.

The foundation has 'focused on problems of maternal health and family planning in developing countries, and on identifying the root causes of these problems in order to find innovative solutions,' UNFPA said.

AFPPD has set the goals to educate, motivate and involve legislators on issues related to reproductive health, family planning, food and security and women's empowerment. It comprises 25 national parliamentarian committees and has offices in 13 Asian countries.

The winners were selected by an awards committee of 10 UN members chaired by Malaysia's UN Ambassador Hamidon Ali.

The winners will received the prize June 3 in a ceremony at UN headquarters in New York.