Press Releases

         9 June 2005

    Demographer from Philippines, Guatemala’s Largest Private Family Planning Provider Win 2005 United Nations Population Award

    (Reissued as received.)

    NEW YORK, 8 June (UNFPA) -- A leading demographer, Mercedes Concepcion, of the Philippines, and Guatemala’s largest private family planning provider, Asociación Pro-Bienestar de la Familia de Guatemala (APROFAM ONG), have won this year’s United Nations Population Award. The Award goes each year to individuals and institutions for outstanding work in population and in improving the health and welfare of individuals.

    The Award Committee, chaired by Ambassador Judith Mbula Bahemuka of Kenya, selected the two winners after reviewing nominations from around the world. The Committee is made up of 10 United Nations Member States, with UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, serving as its secretariat. Each winner will receive a diploma, a gold medal and an equal share of a monetary prize. Awards will be presented to winners in July at a ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters, New York.

    Mercedes Concepcion is well known to international demographers and family planners, according to documents submitted to the Award Committee. In addition to her prominent role in the Philippines, she has served as an Honorary President of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, since 1985; member the Advisory Board of the United States-based Population Reference Bureau; and on the Council of the United Nations University in Tokyo. Ms. Concepcion’s work has contributed significantly to population research and development policy in the Philippines.

    APROFAM ONG, founded in 1964, is a private, not-for-profit, non-denominational organization providing reproductive health education, care and counselling to Guatemalan families, according to documents submitted to the Award Committee. They say that the organization’s mission is to provide high-quality reproductive health services to low-income men and women. According to the documents, the organization helped Guatemala with some reproductive health initiatives, such as the 2001 social development and population law, which helped create the legislative and operational framework for population and reproductive health programmes in the country. Since then, it has provided the Government with strategic suggestions on population and helped produce and disseminate objective socio-demographic data in Guatemala.

    The Economic and Social Council elects members of the Award Committee for three-year terms. They are Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cameroon, Guyana, Haiti, Iran, Kenya, the Netherlands and Peru. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid serve as ex-officio members.

    There were 23 nominations for the 2005 Population Award; 13 in the individual category and 10 in the institutional. Nominations can be made by: United Nations Member States; intergovernmental bodies engaged in population-related activities; population-related non-governmental organizations having consultative status with the United Nations; university professors of population or related studies; heads of population-related institutions; and past laureates.

    The UNFPA is the world’s largest multilateral source of population assistance. Since it became operational in 1969, the Fund has provided substantial assistance to developing countries, at their request, to address their population and development needs.

    For more information, please contact: Abubakar Dungus, tel.: +1 (212) 297-5031, e-mail:; Omar Gharzeddine, tel.: +1 (212) 297-5028, e-mail:; or visit UNFPA’s website at

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