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New Zealand Prime Minister gets UN award for her efforts to end poverty

New Zealand Prime Minister gets UN award for her efforts to end poverty

New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark has received the Ceres Medal from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for what it described as her "commitment to promoting food security and international partnership."

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf conferred the medal - awarded to distinguished women who have contributed to the fight against hunger - at a ceremony in the New Zealand capital, Wellington, yesterday.

Dr. Diouf said the medal recognized Ms. Clark's role in making the eradication of poverty, one of the UN Millennium Development Goals, a key objective of New Zealand's development assistance programme.

At last year's World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, Ms. Clark urged the world to meet achievable targets in such areas as poverty reduction, access to clean water and maintaining biodiversity.

Dr. Diouf also praised Ms. Clark for her belief that "sustainable development cannot be achieved by one country alone and her recognition of the fact that it is through partnerships with others - countries, financial and technical institutions, and regional and multilateral organizations - that shared goals can be achieved."

Previous winners of the Ceres Medal, first awarded in 1971 and named after the Roman goddess of agriculture, have included former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, President Mireya Moscoso of Panama, former Brazilian first lady Ruth Cardoso and the late Mother Teresa.