Press Release

Dr. Nafis Sadik and Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning win 2001 United Nations Population Award

11 May 2001

NEW YORK - Dr. Nafis Sadik, former Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning will share the 2001 United Nations Population Award.

The committee decided on the award on Thursday, 10 May, said the Chairman of the Award Committee, Ambassador Pierre Lelong of Haiti. Each winner will receive a diploma, a gold medal and an equal share of a monetary prize.

The Award is presented annually by the Committee for the United Nations Population Award to individuals and institutions, which have made outstanding contributions to increasing the awareness of population problems and to their solutions. The committee is made up of Member States of the United Nations. UNFPA serves as secretariat to the committee and does not have a vote.

Dr. Nafis Sadik, a Pakistani national, was the winner of the individual award. She retired as Executive Director of the UNFPA in December 2000, a position she held since 1987. According to the citation, the impact made by Dr. Sadik on the world of population during her tenure as Executive Director cannot be overemphasized. She led the world’s largest source of multilateral assistance to population programs. UNFPA’s influence on world population policy is arguably stronger than that of any other agency or organization, largely because it speaks on behalf of all nations.

Dr. Sadik was Secretary-General of the International Conference on Population and Development which took place in Cairo in 1994. According to the citation, the conference resulted in enormous changes to the field of population. The conference saw a change in global consensus that put human rights, and specifically women’s rights, at the heart of the population debate. Dr. Sadik was particularly effective in steering this consensus through the Conference because of her personal commitment to issues of women’s rights and women’s health and because of her exceptional leadership skills.

Dr. Sadik’s training as a medical doctor, in which she specialized in women’s and reproductive health, lent her an enormous advantage in directing a worldwide series of successful efforts to improve the health and well-being of women and children, the citation continued. This perspective was especially salient because of her background of medical practice and program administration in Pakistan, where she witnessed the need for quality programs among women and the (more) - 2 - Press Release POP/803 11 May 2001 poor. Many observers credit Dr. Sadik for the substantial increase in the proportion of females who hold important positions in the population world.

Dr. Sadik made major contributions to the research on population, family planning and reproductive health, according to the citation. She wrote numerous articles for the leading journals in the field, and also edited several important books. Three books in particular deserve recognition: Population: the UNFPA Experience (New York University Press, 1984); Population Policies and Programmes: Lessons Learned from Two Decades of Experience, (New York University Press, 1991); and Making a Difference: Twenty-five Years of UNFPA Experience, (Banson, London, 1994).

The winner in the institutional category was the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP). JOICFP has made very significant contributions to population issues in the developing world and in Japan as well. JOICFP is the most experienced Japanese non-governmental organization internationally active in the field of population and reproductive health. JOICFP has projects in 26 countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa, and is especially committed to contributing to health and education.

JOICFP has contributed to population questions and their solutions in three major areas. They are: the community-operated integrated approach to family planning; the sharing of Japanese expertise through human resource development; and what JOICFP calls “Multi-dimensional Advocacy and Resource Development for the issues of population and reproductive health/reproductive rights”. Since the Cairo ICPD Programme of Action, and again at the ICPD +5 last year, the Japanese approach of integrating family planning to maternal and child health is gaining much attention.

JOICFP has conducted training programs for managers, project implementers, health staff, and field workers in the field of population and reproductive health since 1968. For over 30 years, JOICFP has providing training to 1,203 participants from 73 countries.

The two winners will receive their awards at a ceremony to be held in June at the United Nations. The Committee of the United Nations Population Award is made up of representatives of United Nations Member States elected by the Economic and Social Council for terms of three years. The current members are Burundi, Cape Verde, Haiti, Kyrgyz Republic, Lesotho, Republic of Moldova and the Netherlands. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Thoraya Obaid, serve as ex-officio members.

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There were 10 nominations for the 2001 award, including 8 individuals and 2 institutions. Nominations can be made by: Member States; intergovernmental organizations engaged in population-related activities; population related non-governmental organizations having consultative status with the United Nations; university professors of population or related studies; heads of population-related institutions; and past laureates.

Contact Information:

William A. Ryan
Tel.: +66 2 288 2446

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