A United Nations programme which has helped bring solar powered electricity to some 100,000 people across 18,000 rural Indian households has won the prestigious UN-21 award for efficiency and effectiveness.
The initiative, which was launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2003 in collaboration with Indian banks, was aimed at providing loans to rural households for setting up solar energy systems.
Besides, the 'Billion Tree Campaign' launched in 2006 and the 'Environmental Management of Iraqi Marshlands' leading to partial restoration of the largest wetland ecosystem in Middle East were among other UNEP projects which won the awards.
The nine award-winning projects which were evaluated for excellence in delivering the UN's services and programmes as well as for their contributions in areas such as staff morale, productivity, knowledge management, administration and information technology were selected from 70 initiatives nominated worldwide.
"Your efforts in substantive programmes and field projects have directly helped people in the countries where you serve," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, congratulating the award winners. "Your endeavours have given the United Nations' work more impact and make us a more productive organization."
Also among the award winners were two projects initiated by the UN's Vienna offices one streamlining administrative processes for staff who leave the organization, the other improving the way governments report drug-related data.