NEW YORK --- On the eve of the Millennium Development Review Summit, UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid received a lifetime achievement award for her work to promote the human rights of women. The ceremony served as high profile platform from which to honour and celebrate exemplary efforts by select governments and individuals for their contributions toward achievement of the MDGs. It took place in the Waldorf Astoria Grand Ballroom, which was packed to capacity.
The award was presented by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, who called Ms. Obaid a strong leader who had brought widespread support to women's health and rights, including from non- traditional partners such as religious leaders. Another lifetime achievement award was presented to Juan Somavia, the Director General of the ILO, for his commitment to advancing decent work for all. Individual awards were also presented to governments for their achievements in making progress towards each of the eight Millennium Development Goals:
MDG 1 award was presented to Malawi for reducing poverty and hunger. A former food importer, Malawi now exports food and sent food relief to Haiti after the earthquake.
MDG 2 award was presented to Tanzania for raising school enrollment rates and abolishing school fees to increase equity in education.
MDG 3 award was presented to Liberia for advancing gender equality and increasing the number of girls in school under the leadership of Africa's first woman President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
MDG 4 award was presented to Bangladesh for reducing infant and child mortality and expanding life-saving health services.
MDG 5 award was presented to Nepal for reducing maternal mortality by half since 1990 and demonstrating strong political leadership for reproductive health.
MDG 6 award was presented to Cambodia for tackling HIV and AIDS and reaching 95 per cent of persons living with HIV with anti-retroviral treatment.
MDG 8 award was presented to governments that have achieved the target of 0.7 for official development assistance.