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Press Release

Her Majesty The Queen Mother Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck was awarded the individual laureate for the 2020 UN Population Award during a virtual award ceremony held on 10th December 2020. The award was presented to recognize Her Majesty The Gyalyum’s outstanding contribution in raising awareness and devising solutions to population and reproductive health issues.

The UN Population Award was established by the United Nations in 1981 and was first presented in 1983. The Award is presented annually for the most outstanding contribution in the area of population and reproductive health. The Committee for the United Nations Population Award selects the laureates of the Award.

The virtual award ceremony for the 2020 UN Population Award commenced at 9pm BST (10 am EST) and was attended by Ms. Maria Luiza Ribiero Viotti, the Chef de Cabinet from the Executive Office of the UN Secretary General; H.E. Ambassador Ion Jinga, Chairperson of the Committee for the UN Population Award, and Permanent Representative of Romania; Dr. Natalia Kanem, Secretary of the Committee for the UN Population Award, and Executive Director of UNFPA; Mr. Kiran Karnik, Chairperson, Help Age India, Laureate in Institutional Category; H.E. Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti, Permanent Representative of India and H.E Ambassador Doma Tshering, Permanent Representative of Bhutan to the UN.

The virtual award ceremony in Bhutan was witnessed from the Grand Kuenray Hall of the Tashichhodzong. The special viewing ceremony was attended by members of the Royal Family, representative of the Zhung Dratshang, the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, heads of international partner agencies, senior government officials and special invitees who have contributed to Her Majesty The Gyalyum’s tireless efforts and work over the last 21 years.

A special documentary on Her Majesty The Gyalyum’s journey as the UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador for 21 years was screened in the Grand Kuenray prior to the virtual award ceremony. The virtual award ceremony was opened by H.E Ambassador Jinga in his capacity as the Chair of the Award Committee. It was followed by a video on the UN Population Award showcasing 34 years of excellence and a video message from the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr.António Guterres.

Her Majesty The Gyalyum expressed her appreciation to the members of the UN Population Award Committee for the conferment of the prestigious award. Her Majesty shared that the award is of great personal significance given that it represents the hopes and aspirations of the most vulnerable women and children, a matter that is close to Her Majesty’s heart.
Her Majesty The Gyalyum highlighted the heavy toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken, particularly on women and girls and shared hope that the vaccine will be made accessible to all in an equitable and affordable manner.

Her Majesty The Gyalyum also paid tribute and expressed gratitude to the many individuals and organisations for their contributions and support over the years culminating in the recognition of the award. Her Majesty thanked Their Majesty The Kings for their profound vision and leadership.

The virtual award ceremony concluded with closing remarks by the Chair of the Awards Committee.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
10th December 2020

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