Queen Sofia and Abdul Aziz bin Talal honour the winning projects in the field of “No poverty”
AGUFND and Prince Talal International Prize will remain a symbol and a real effort to support humanity by contributing to sustainable development and promoting a decent living
Queen Sofia: Prince Talal will always occupy place in our memories.
The Gulf Cooperation Council pledges to continue to support AGFUND’s efforts and its developmental mission
Nasser Alkahtani: AGFUND will remain faithful to the humanitarian principles for which Prince Talal worked
The Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva values Prince Talal’s roles in development and humanitarian action
Executive Director of UNITAR: AGFUND’s contributions to effective and productive development
HRH Prince Abdul Aziz bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz, Chairman of Prince Talal International Prize for Human Development, affirmed that AGFUND the award Ceremony of Prince Talal International Prize at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, with its meaning of appreciation and honor, to the pioneers of distinguished projects in the field of “no poverty”, is an expression of the holistic concept of development for life in general. This is because poverty is the root of affliction, and incurable disease that impedes life. In fact, poverty humiliates human dignity. Therefore, we should address this defective phenomenon with a clear vision.”
Addressing the high-profile attendance at the ceremony, including the Queen, princesses, princes, diplomats, development experts and media professionals, Abdul Aziz said: “Feelings overlap, and many memories emerge in mind and heart. The meeting tonight is different. The United Nations is hosting this event for the first time after the death of Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, the founder of AGFUND, may Allah have mercy on him. ”
Abdul Aziz stressed that AGFUND and Prince Talal International Prize will remain a symbol, contribution, and real effort on the international stage to support humanity, promote human life by contributing to development, encourage fulfillment of needs, really strive towards ending destitution and promote decent living.
Queen Sofia, member of the Prince Talal International Prize Committee, praised the achievements of the late Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz and his initiatives in the field of international cooperation. She stressed that AGFUND has become a model in the field of human development and thanked Prince Abdul Aziz, Chairman of the Prize Committee for taking on this task and following his father’s steps in supporting sustainable development Goals. Her Majesty pointed out that Prince Talal International Prize shows how AGFUND’s plays a leading role to find solutions to a series of problems afflicting our planet. At the end of her speech on behalf of the award committee, Queen Sofia congratulated the winners of the Prize for the dedication and efforts they proved to improve the life of most needy people.
In his speech at the Human Rights and the Alliance of Civilizations Room, where the Saudi media professional Abdullah Al-Shehri presented the ceremony, Abdulaziz clarified that: “The comprehensive concept of development, as adopted by the United Nations explicitly emerged in the current United Nations strategy, ensuring the consolidation of the principles and positive values and their requirements of a conscious openness to human experiences. On this basis, development is considered a comprehensive and continuous process targeting human beings and their biosphere. These determinants are the basis of the 17 SDGs 2030.
The Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Tatiana Valovaya, spoke at the ceremony, praising the roles of Prince Talal in the field of development and humanitarian action. She also drew attention to AGFUND’s efforts to achieve the SDGs 2030. Nikhil Seth, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and the Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) described the contributions of AGFUND to development as effective and productive. He pointed that the partnership between AGFUND and UNITAR takes root day after day.
Adel Al-Mahri, the Permanent Observer for the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf to the United Nations and the other organizations in Geneva, praised the great developmental return of Prince Talal’s efforts. Al-Mahri renewed the GCC’s commitment to continue to support AGFUND and its positive roles in the development fields, as it is a prominent addition to the contributions of the GCC countries to international development.
In his opening speech of the Award Ceremony of Prince Talal International Prize to honor the winners in the field of “no poverty”, the first goal of SDGs 2030, Nasser Alkahtani, AGFUND’s Executive Director, said: “Prince Talal is present between us by granting his developmental thinking. In AGFUND especially, his initiatives becoming more prevalent. The beneficiaries of the projects he has developed for the poor are constantly increasing. AGFUND has covered 133 states with 1578 developmental projects. In AGFUND’s financial inclusion banks, the number of beneficiaries exceeds 4.5 million. These banks provide $100 million per year in various activities and products which achieve the sustainable development goals.
Alkahtani added: Prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz was a supporter of the United Nations and its roles. He took the initiative of establishing AGFUND especially to support the United Nations Development Organizations in the early 1980s with the support of the leaders of the Arab Gulf States. Today, AGFUND steps are compatible with United Nations Orientations “the conscience of nations”. Selecting “the UN headquarters” to honor the winning projects of Prince Talal International Prize is an indication of the long-standing relationship as well as linking the themes of the prize to the sustainable development goals.
Alkahtani confirmed that AGFUND will remain faithful to the humanitarian principles for which Prince Talal worked. AGFUND’s Board of Directors is keen to maintain partnerships established with the United Nations. As the Board was keen on those principles, it initiated to change the name of the AGFUND Prize to become the Prince Talal International Prize for Human Development, in commemoration of His Highness Prince Talal, appreciation of his Humanitarian efforts, firm commitment towards the poor and devoting his life to serve human development.
Highlighting journey of the prize, Abdul Aziz said “Prince Talal International Prize had revealed an extensive outcome of success stories and creativity in development. Thus, the prize role does not stop at honoring distinguished entrepreneurs. One of its most important objectives is to stimulate successful experiences, encourage the implementation of similar projects, develop existing projects and establish partnerships with development leaders. These objectives which support continuity reflect the close association between the prize and the sustainable development goals.
Abdul Aziz called on “all human development organizations to follow AGFUND’s example in stimulating success and spreading its culture on the largest scale to enable the vulnerable segments to improve their living and contribute to the development of their societies.” He indicated that AGFUND is working in accordance with the concept of the comprehensive sustainable development, particularly, through its project to establish financial inclusion banks, an initiative launched by Prince Talal, may God have mercy on him. This initiative is successful and spreading. After first bank in the Arab region started at the dawn of the millennium and proved its social and economic feasibility, it was established in nine Arab countries. Today, the bank has started spreading in West and Central Africa.
He said that the financial inclusion banks do not fight the poverty by giving financial grants that mostly non-stimulating, but its tool is to give loans that encourage the development of creativity and innovation, transfer the poor from job seekers to job-makers for others to engage in real development. It creates friendly environments by empowering the working women and assuring them of their children through the establishment of nurseries and kindergartens, providing health insurance, saving, products that contribute to solving social and economic problems. As such, the financial inclusion banks have been able to accommodate AGFUND’s five strategic programs and objectives, which are Development of early childhood, women empowerment, education, civil society development, and combating poverty.
Abdul Aziz expressed his thanks to the Prize committee for its efforts to select these distinguished projects that deserved to win the Prize. He also thanked the Arab Gulf States for their response to Prince Talal’s initiative to establish AGFUND and support the path of “this active organization with its regional position within the Arab aid institutions, and globally with its extended relations with the United Nations, and its qualitative partnerships.”