UNFPA population award function at the UN. Article to follow. Pix: award laureate Niger chiefs; with UNFPA official and Liberian diplomat: Yahav Lichner and Gail Farngalo

The Committee for the United Nations Populations Award, on Thursday evening presented the 2017 Population award in the individual and institutional categories to two inspirational people at a star-studded event at the UN ECOSOC Chambers in New York. Among the dignitaries in attendance were government officials from capital, ambassadors, committee experts and the UN agencies.

Two laureates received commendations for their work in population and women’s reproductive issues. The awardees are Professor Hans Rosling (posthumously) in the individual category and the Association of Traditional Chiefs of Niger. The award is presented annually to individual and institutions for the most outstanding contribution to awareness of population questions or to their solution

Speaking when she presented the awards, UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, commended the award laureate, and said their work in women’s reproductive would help countries to attain the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2017 Population Award in the individual category was awarded, posthumously, to Swede physicist, academician and statistician, Professor Hans Rosling. A professor of international health at Karolinska Institute, he was the co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation. Rosling promoted the use of data to explore development issues.

Rosling is being recognized for his work in Mozambique in the 1980s that him to the discovery of an epidemic paralytic disease known as Konzo.

An association of Chiefs, founded in 1949, won the award in the institutional category. A grouping that has over two thousand members, the Association des Chefs Traditionnels du Niger (ACTN), is commended for its unique contribution in putting population issues and their solutions are rage heart of development. The group is also noted for promoting and improving reproductive health care for women, girls and children.

Furthermore, the ACTN advocates for the elimination of child early and forced marriage, supports girls’ education; it is a powerful voice for increase in investments in health and education; breaking taboos by publicly¬† making commitments to family planning and reproductive health.

Making statements at the award ceremony were the UNFPA acting Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem, and the Chairperson of the Committee for the UN Population Award, Ambassador Martha Phobee.