Nigeria and three other countries on Thursday in New York received two global awards for their commitment to polio eradication and supporting the work of the UN. India, Pakistan and Afghanistan were the other three countries that were honoured with the Global Leadership Award by the UN Foundation and the UN Association of the USA (UNA-US) during the ceremony.
The event also celebrated the 70th Anniversary of UNA-USA that recognised the 15-year legacy of leadership of former UN Foundation President and current Board Vice Chairman, Timothy Wirth, who was honoured with the Champion for Global Change Award.
“The event was quite significant not only because of the recognition of Nigeria’s determination and milestone achievements in the eradication of polio, but that it also coincided with Nigeria’s election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
“Our membership will undoubtedly provide another opportunity to partner with other member states in advancing the course of peace and security,’’ Ambassador Joy Ogwu, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said while accepting the award. She noted that the support of Nigeria’s international partners like UNICEF was instrumental to the rapid progress made in the efforts towards the eradication of polio in Nigeria.
“We are pleased that the National Polio Emergency Plan had continued to yield the desired results. We have witnessed impressive increase in the immunisation coverage in the affected Northern states. “It is also noteworthy that the effective implementation of the plan has curtailed the spread of polio to neighbouring West African countries,’’ the envoy stressed.
She also added that Nigeria acknowledged the role of the General Electric Africa in its national transformation agenda to address the deficit in the energy sector. According to her, the GE presence in Nigeria underscores the importance the Federal Government attached to the partnership with the private sector.
Ogwu also commended the UN Foundation and the UN Association for finding the efforts of Nigeria in the eradication of polio worthy of global recognition. “This honour will serve as additional inspiration in the struggle towards total eradication of the disease not only in Nigeria but also in the entire Africa region,’’ she stated.
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