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Antigua PM receives UN Visionary Leadership Award

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Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer on Monday received the South-South and Triangular Visionary Leadership Award in a ceremony held at the headquarters of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna, Austria.

The Visionary Award is given annually to leaders from countries and institutions that focus primarily on the development of the global South who, through their actions, have placed the cooperative spirit center stage in international efforts to improve the human condition, according to an Antigua government statement.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. John W. Ashe, accepted the award, on the first day of the 5th Annual Global South-South Development (GSSD) Expo 2012, on behalf of Spencer, who could not attend the ceremony.

“I am pleased and honored to be given this prestigious award, whose significance is seen in the goals developing countries have strived to achieve through the multitude of South-South alliances that have been formed over the years,” Spencer said in the statement.

“I would like to thank the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation for this singular honor, which recognizes leaders who have used South-South cooperation as a uniting framework to foster economic integration, the formation of negotiating blocs during multilateral negotiations, political alliances, sharing of knowledge, experience and technology, cross-sectoral collaboration and in advancing cultural exchanges,” he added.

The award ceremony was part of the five-day GSSD Expo 2012, which ran from Nov. 19-23.

This year’s expo, a U.N.-sponsored forum and the fifth one of its kind, has over 30 organizations, agencies and institutional partners.

It will highlight the dual themes of sustainable energy and climate change and showcase more than 30 practical, successful interventions in the field that have raised living standards and promoted sustainable growth and prosperity in developing countries, the statement said.

It said these “Southern-grown development solutions” range from renewable energy to energy-efficient technologies; green economy pathways; energy access and climate change; social protection, job security and economic empowerment in energy sectors; restoring and rehabilitating degraded habitats and ecosystems services; food security, agricultural productivity and the conservation of agriculture; protection of health, well-being and livelihoods of venerable populations, among others.

Ashe, who opened the Expo in his capacity as President of the U.N. High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, said that he hoped that the Expo will spur greater innovation, greater partnership, greater energy and interest in tackling the common challenges to development in a “coherent and collective manner so as to ensure that the development gains are equitably shared by all countries of the developing world.”

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