UN Population Fund receives €32,000 from European benefit

28 November 2007 – Activities of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) aimed at ending the debilitating birth injury known as fistula have received a €32,000 boost thanks to a European benefit event.

The agency was the beneficiary of the 2007 ‘Europeans of the Year’ awards gala held in Brussels on 27 November, which generated €32,000 for the UNFPA-led Campaign to End Fistula.

The awards, known as EV50, are conferred annually by European Voice, the European Union affairs newspaper, to ten individuals who have influenced the European agenda over the past 12 months. Winners were selected from among 50 nominees by European Voice editors and a distinguished panel of leading opinion makers and thinkers.

“UNFPA is delighted to be associated with the European of the Year award 2007,” said Sietske Steneker, director of the UNFPA Brussels Office, at the gala ceremony.

“UNFPA works across the globe to ensure that women in developing countries can give birth as safely as they can in Europe, that all young people have equal access to the information and means to protect themselves from HIV and unwanted pregnancies, and that every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. Without the support of European individuals, campaigners, parliamentarians, businesses, governments and the EU, this work would simply not be possible.”

Thanking EV50 for the generous contribution on behalf of the Campaign to End Fistula, Ms. Steneker presented the ‘Campaigner of the Year’ award to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was nominated for taking action against climate change with the California Global Warming Solutions Act, and for plans to introduce an emissions trading scheme with other US states and possibly with the EU.

Obstetric fistula is a hole in the birth canal caused by prolonged labour without prompt medical intervention, usually a Caesarean section. The woman is left with chronic incontinence and, in most cases, a stillborn baby.

The Campaign to End Fistula, led by UNFPA, is an international effort to prevent and treat obstetric fistula in more than 40 countries. Since 2003, the Campaign has grown to include a wide range of non-governmental partners and foundations.

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