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At a glance: Spain

UNICEF wins Asturias humanitarian award for work on behalf of children

UNICEF has been commended in particular for its work in Africa.

By Jane O’Brien

NEW YORK, USA, 14 September 2006 – UNICEF has been awarded the ‘Nobel Prize’ of the Latin world for its 60 years of working to save and improve children’s lives. The Prince of Asturias Award for Concord is one of the most prestigious recognitions of humanitarian achievement.

“It’s absolutely fantastic,” says UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America Nils Kastberg. “To win this is like the Nobel Prize of the Spanish-speaking world, and all of us in UNICEF are proud of that. But more than that pride of UNICEF is the pride for children and for raising the image of children around the world.”

The award is one of eight bestowed by the Prince of Asturias Foundation each year. Other 2006 recipients announced yesterday include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for international cooperation and the National Geographic Society for communications and humanities.

© Fundación Príncipe de Asturias
The Prince of Asturias Foundation, based in Oviedo, Spain, promotes scientific, cultural and humanistic values and gives the annual Prince of Asturias Awards.

Noted achievements

The jury, chaired by the President of the Principality of Asturias, Vicente Alvarez Areces, described UNICEF as the world’s leading children’s organization. In particular, jury members commended UNICEF’s work in Africa, where wars, famine and AIDS are obstacles to child development. Among the noted achievements:

  • UNICEF prevents 18,000 deaths a year in West Africa through accelerated programmes for child survival
  • UNICEF is the largest distributor of mosquito nets and medicines to treat malaria, which causes one in five child deaths in Africa
  • In Velingara, Senegal, child mortality has been reduced by 25 per cent with UNICEF's help
  • In Somalia, UNICEF helped 114,000 children go to school for the first time.

“I understand that a major consideration was also the fact that this is our 60th anniversary at UNICEF,” says Mr. Kastberg. “It’s great that they used that opportunity to give us the award.”




13 September 2006:
UNICEF's Regional Director for the Americas and the Caribbean Region Nils Kastberg responds to UNICEF winning the Prince of Asturias humanitarian award.
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