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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - CAIRO — United Nation Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNITAR Nikhil Seth has congratulated the winners of the Prince Talal International Prize for Human Development, saying that it is a prestigious prize.
During his speech at the ceremony that was held virtually last Wednesday, Seth stated that the prize is pivotal in promoting and supporting pioneering projects that contribute to sustainable development in the least developed countries.
He also expressed that, the development community remains grateful to the Late Prince Talal for his pioneering development and humanitarian programs which continue to support the disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalized groups of our society.
Seth expressed his gratitude saying, “UNITAR is also grateful for its continuing partnership with AGFUND in bringing economic empowerment to marginalized communities, especially women.”
He added, “Over the past 3 years, UNITAR’s partnership with AGFUND has delivered a dozen of initiatives for the benefit of hundreds of beneficiaries from over 108 countries globally. Thanks to our joint training platform.
“Despite the pandemic, AGFUND and the Prize Committee dedication to support impactful projects that contribute to sustainable development in the least developed countries remains strong.”
Seth concluded “the next phase of our partnership is to democratize education by providing accredited and affordable degree programs on financial inclusion from academic institutions globally”.
It is worth mentioning that the Prize, represented by its committee, choses a goal of the 17 SDGs to be the subject annually.
Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Talal, president of the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND) and chairman of the Prize committee said, “The Prize is a call of peace against development imbalances in the societies, especially among the poor, by presenting basic issues in development as subjects of competition each year.”
The Prince Talal International Prize for Human Development, honored on Wednesday, June 16, four pioneering projects that won the award for the year 2019 that’s dedicated to the subject of "Clean Water and Sanitation".
The ceremony was held virtually, in the presence of many representatives of international and national organizations, diplomats, development experts, members of the prize committee, AGFUND board of directors, writers and media professionals.
During the ceremony, the first category winner, "Social and Economic Inclusion of vulnerable Urban Communities through Water and Sanitation Service" in Bangladesh was honored with a prize value worth of $400,000.
The second category winner, “Using solar energy systems to operate drinking water wells” in Yemen, was worth $300,000.
The third category winner "Water and Sanitation project in the city of Mzimba" in Malawi, picked up the prize worth $200,000.
The fourth category winner “Clean Water for Rural Ghanaian Villages Led by Women” in Ghana that worth $100,000.
In her speech, her Queen Sofia said, “the Prize has become a pioneering mechanism to explore successful human development projects”.
In his speech, Prince Abdul Aziz pledged to move forward with the Prize “We, at the prize committee and AGFUND, always renew our keenness to sustain this credibility and firmness, and to preserve the transparency of the prize, the nomination controls, and the neutrality of evaluation, and all the values and standards that have achieved the prize with global respect and appreciation.”
He added, “As for the accumulated list of evaluators and winners, it is an important stream, in an effort to reap the utmost of development, so that gains of the prize bring good to humanity.”
The Executive Director of AGFUND, Nasser Alkahtani expressed that “the Prize reflects the depth of the relationship between AGFUND and the United Nations. The relationship that began since the Late Prince Talal, founded AGFUND.”
He added, “AGFUND's relationship with the winning projects does not end by the delivery of the Prize. It is an ongoing relationship, as we build and partnerships to transfer their experiences to other communities.”
Dr. Abdul Hamid Al-Khalifa, director of the OPEC Fund for International Development, said, “The winning projects reflect the required flexible and innovative solutions to contribute to the achievement of SDG 6.” He added “OPEC and AGFUND share a long-standing commitment to making development cooperation as effective and impactful as possible.”
The representative of the first category winner Philippe de Roux said, “Being selected by such a prestigious prize was a real blessing, especially in this period of pandemic when the garment industry suddenly collapsed in Bangladesh, depriving the salaries of more than half of the families in our areas of intervention.”
Ali Bashmakh, executive director of the Selah Foundation for Development in the Republic of Yemen, winner of the second category, expressed his gratitude for the Prize and for the humanitarian and developmental role that Prince Talal established saying that “this prize achieved the link of expansion, and development of our projects, where 31 solar energy systems benefited 153,052 people from the most needy and vulnerable groups among the displaced and marginalized.
The chairman of Northern Region Water Board in Malawi Dr. James Munthali, representative of the 3rd category winner said, "our winning" of the prize is "funded by AGFUND through the Prince Talal International Prize, which has proven effective in helping the local community in Malawi in limiting the spread of diseases, including COVID-19” and that “the Prince Talal Prize has proven to be a lifeline as it helps reduce the spread of diseases in remote communities in many cities in Malawi.”
Kate Cincotoa, CEO and co-founder of Saha Global, representing the 4th category winner "Women-Led Rural Ghanaian Clean Water Project" said “I’d like to thank the Arab Gulf Program for Development and the Prince Talal Prize for this great honor. We are so grateful for your support”.
Kate pointed out that in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and after winning the prize, the Saha Emergency Water Fund is now providing free clean water to rural families in villages. — SG
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