29 April 2019, Geneva, Switzerland – The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND) are partnering to promote financial inclusion through training activities across Africa, assisting ongoing programmes, and supporting microfinance banks throughout the Middle East. Additionally, they will join forces to host the 8th AGFUND Development Forum on the 8th of October 2019, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

The AGFUND Prince Talal International Prize for Human Development, established in 1999, is a strategic instrument for developing countries to successfully reach the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a strong focus on poverty, social exclusion, socio-economic marginalization, specifically among women and children, education and health. The Prize of $1Million is awarded to four ambitious projects each year.

The four Award categories are: (1) projects funded, designed and implemented by UN Development Agencies or international and regional NGOs (US$ 400,000); (2) projects funded, designed and implemented by national NGOs (US$ 300,000); (3) projects funded, designed and implemented by government ministries and public institutions, or social business enterprises (US$ 200,000); and (4) projects initiated, funded and/or implemented by individuals (US$ 100,000).


The Prize Committee’s 20th meeting was hosted on the 29th of April 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland. It was attended by influential individuals dedicated to human development and the SDGs. Among the main representatives were H.M. Queen Sofia of Spain, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammed Yunus, Founder of the renown Grameen Bank, Chairman of the Yunus Center and Nobel Peace Prize Lauriat for Economic and Social Development, as well as H.E. Mr. Nassar Al-Khatani, the Executive Director of the AGFUND. The purpose of this memorable event was to announce the 2018 Prize winners and to preselect the next project applications to be considered for the 2019 award ceremony.

The Prize aims to encourage innovation and creativity in development work while highlighting outstanding projects through their partnerships with the UN, national governments, NGOs, civil societies and/or the private sector. Since inception, 1,500 successful projects have been selected in over 130 developing countries. They are evaluated by an international team of three experts, selected based on their international experience in development projects’ evaluation, their thorough knowledge in the theme launched for the Prize, and for their objectivity and fair assessment. The composition of this team may vary each year, depending on the Prize’s thematic focus. Each year one SDG is chosen as the focus for the award nominations. Previous years have been dedicated to No Poverty (SDG 1), Zero Hunger (SDG 2), and Quality Education (SDG 4). During this year’s meeting, the Prize Committee decided that the emphasis for 2019 will be on Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6).

Given the invaluable results of this partnership, UNITAR looks forward to future collaborations with the AGFUND and will continue enhancing the content and format of its training activities related to their common ambitions.


The Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND) is a regional organization based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. AGFUND was established in 1980 upon the initiative of His Royal Highness, Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud with the support of leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries: United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, State of Qatar, Sultanate of Oman and the State of Kuwait. AGFUND works mainly in the field of development and growth at the international level through an effective partnership with the United Nations Organization, with regional and national development organizations, with public institutions, with the private sector, as well as with organizations of the civil society.

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