Press Release

Queen Mother of Bhutan and HelpAge India receive 2020 UN Population Award

11 November 2020

UNITED NATIONS, New York - Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, Queen Mother of Bhutan, was announced as the individual laureate for the 2020 United Nations Population Award. HelpAge India was announced as the award’s institutional laureate. 

Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck is a longstanding champion of sexual and reproductive health and rights and the need to end violence against women, girls and children in Bhutan. Among her many achievements in recent decades, she has helped to create an enabling environment to openly discuss sexual reproductive health in the kingdom and founded a volunteer organization called “Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women” (RENEW) in 2004. She has also been a Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA for more than 20 years.

The world’s ageing population has gained increasing attention in recent years, but HelpAge India has been working with and for disadvantaged elderly people in India for nearly four decades, serving their needs holistically and enabling them to live active, dignified and healthier lives. Working in 20 States across India, the organization also provides employment opportunities to older people, advocates for their rights in the community and helps local organizations to support them.

Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981, the United Nations Population Award recognizes contributions in the fields of population and reproductive health. The Committee for the United Nations Population Award, which made the selections, is chaired by Ion Jinga, the Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations, and is composed of representatives of nine other UN Member States. UNFPA serves as its secretariat.

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led to delays in the work of the Committee, which selected the 2020 laureates on Thursday 5 November 2020. A virtual ceremony will be held on Thursday 10 December 2020.


For more information, please contact: Eddie Wright:  Tel:  +1 917 831 2074;


About the UN Population Award

Each year, the Committee for the United Nations Population Award honours an individual and/or institution in recognition of outstanding contributions to population and reproductive health issues and solutions. The Award was established by the General Assembly in 1981, in resolution 36/201, and was first presented in 1983. It consists of a gold medal, a diploma and a monetary prize. The Committee for the United Nations Population Award is comprised of 10 UN Member States, with United Nations Secretary-General and UNFPA Executive Director serving as ex-officio members. Nominations for the award are accepted through 31 December of each year. UNFPA serves as its secretariat.

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