17 June 2011
Deputy Secretary-General

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General Says United Nations Population Award Resonates This Year,


as World Prepares to Welcome Human Family’s Seven Billionth Member


Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks to the United Nations Population Award ceremony, in New York, 16 June:

It is a pleasure to welcome you to the twenty-eight United Nations Population Award ceremony.  The Award has special resonance this year, as we prepare to welcome the seven billionth member of our human family.  This momentous event has highlighted the significance of population matters.

The impending population milestone has rightly triggered important discussions on managing the balance between people and resources, on fertility, population and development, and on how to help people in the least developed countries rise from poverty.  The implications of population growth are also seen in the voices of youth growing ever more insistent as they strive for opportunity and empowerment, and in the struggle of people of all ages as they cope with the continuing impact of the global economic and financial crisis.

This year’s award-winners — Professor Mohammad Jalal Abbasi-Shavazi and L’Institut de Formation et de Recherche Démographique, or IFORD — are helping us to address these key issues of the world’s present and future collective well-being.

Professor Abbasi-Shavazi has contributed greatly to our understanding of the dynamics of fertility decline in Iran.  He has demonstrated how educating and empowering women and providing reproductive health services correlates to smaller family size.  Professor Abbasi-Shavazi’s research also extends to the state of refugees and migrants, another important aspect in population studies.  Professor Abbasi-Shavazi, I am deeply impressed with your work.  I especially appreciate your focus on vulnerable population groups and your care for their needs.  These are priorities for the United Nations and we are proud to honour you with this Award.

And now, to our other Award winner — I commend IFORD for your work across a wide range of themes.  IFORD has been instrumental in assisting many African countries with research on poverty, sexual and reproductive health, gender and demographic issues, migration and the linkages between population, environment and development.  You have been integral to conducting population censuses, establishing local training and providing policy advice.  For these reasons and more, you have richly earned this recognition.

Through these awards and the daily efforts of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations seeks to send a message about the strength of our commitment to building a world in which everyone — every woman, man and child — has the opportunity and the means to fulfil their potential.  Thank you again to our distinguished winners for your outstanding work and lasting contributions to our global mission of peace, justice and human dignity.  Thank you.

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For information media • not an official record