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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has honoured former US president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, U2's Bono and others in the Goalkeepers Awards.
The awards recognise the contributions of people working in their communities and around the world to advance progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Special recognition awards were presented to the Carters and Bono for their “tireless work over many decades towards global health and development”.
The Carters were honoured for “their extraordinary work on disease eradication, mental health, democracy, conflict resolution, human rights, and, most notably, combating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as Guinea worm disease, river blindness and malaria”. Paige Alexander, chief executive of the Carter Centre, and Jason Carter, chairman of the centre's board of trustees, accepted the award on their behalf.
Bono, founder of the One campaign and (Red), was recognised “for his significant impact on SDG progress through advocacy and campaigning”.
Other award recipients came from all over the world and from all levels of society: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was recognised for championing health care and global health architecture to prevent future pandemics; Cameroon's Ashu Martha Agbornyenty was honoured for her drive towards ending maternal mortality in her country; and journalist and human rights activist Eden Tadesse was awarded for her work to provide skills development and job opportunities to refugees.
The awards ceremony took place on Tuesday evening during UN General Assembly week in New York and was followed by an event on Wednesday to discuss current and future efforts to achieve the UN's SDGs, with an emphasis on development finance.
“This year’s Goalkeepers Global Goals Award winners show us how human ingenuity and innovation can help tackle some of the world’s most difficult challenges,” said Blessing Omakwu, deputy director, global content and campaigns and Goalkeepers lead, according to a statement.
“Everyone has the power to make a difference in their communities, and these courageous and indefatigable advocates are helping tens of thousands of people live healthier, more productive lives.”
Earlier this week, the Gates Foundation announced a “long-term commitment of up to $100 million” to fund family planning supplies in low- and middle-income countries, as well as another $100 million that will be directed towards procuring other health supplies for developing nations.
The Gates Foundation's statement aim is to help people lead healthy, productive lives, while focusing on improving health and giving people in developing countries “the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty”.