NEW YORK, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Nelson Mandela was given a Humanitarian Achievement Award at this year's South-South Awards ceremony here on Sunday night.
The former South African president, a global icon for peace and freedom, was awarded for his outstanding leadership for human rights and development. His wife, Graca Machel, received a Humanitarian Achievement Recognition for her tireless advocacy for education, children's welfare and culture.
Mandela and Machel have both contributed greatly to development and human rights across Africa and the whole world. Their most recent initiative, Legacy of Hope, was formed to fund the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa and will bring free healthcare to children in South Africa.
Baldwin Spencer, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, presented the awards to their daughters, Zindzi Mandela and Josina Machel, who attended the ceremony on their behalf.
The 95-year-old anti-apartheid hero was admitted to hospital on June 8 for a recurring lung infection. On Sept. 1, Mandela was discharged from hospital.
At the Sunday ceremony, Laura Chinchilla Miranda, the president of Costa Rica, Khalifa bin Saliman Al-Khalifa, the prime minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji, were given this year's Global Governance Leadership award.
The Global Governance Leadership Awards are presented to individuals who have made distinctive contributions to sustainable development, the youth, e-governance, and information and communications technology.
The South-South Awards, now in its third year, is a gala recognition of exceptional contributions made to the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and sustainable development all over the world on the part of the heads of state and government, as well as executives from the private sector and civil society.
The theme of this year's award ceremony is "Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Development."
"South-South cooperation offers real, concrete solutions to common development challenges," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message to the ceremony. "Sharing best practices, funding pilot projects in far-flung locales, providing the capital to scale-up successful projects, supplying regional public goods, developing and adapting appropriate technologies, these are the opportunities that the international community needs to better leverage."
The South-South Awards 2013 is co-organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, the United Nations Public Administration Network, the South-South Steering Committee for Sustainable Development, and the International Organization for South-South Cooperation and South-South News.