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THE HAGUE -- The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) today hailed Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, for their $2.2 billion donation to a family foundation specializing in supporting population and health projects worldwide.
The gift coincided with the opening of the Hague Forum on population and development, which is taking place here from 8 to 12 February. The UNFPA-organized global forum is reviewing progress in carrying out the plan adopted by the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).
The gift, made in Microsoft stock, brings the endowment of the William H. Gates Foundation to $4.2 billion, making it one of the best-endowed foundations in the world.
Said Dr. Nafis Sadik, UNFPA Executive Director: "News of Bill Gates' extraordinarily generous donation has electrified the Hague Forum. At a time when the international community is seeking ways to build on the gains made since Cairo in reproductive health and rights, the gift provides a powerful boost to that effort and a shining example for other donors.
"Bill and Melinda Gates have once again demonstrated their compassion for the world's poor. This donation is especially important in light of the levelling-off of official assistance for population and reproductive health programmes. It will give new impetus to efforts to make the ICPD Programme of Action a reality--especially in the world's poorest countries, including those in sub-Saharan Africa, which are most affected by the global shortfall in donor support."
The United Nations Population Fund, the world's largest internationally funded source of population assistance, assists developing countries to improve reproductive health services on the basis of individual choice, and to formulate population policies in support of sustainable development.