UNFPA gets new Executive Director

UNFPA gets new Executive Director

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 6:11 pm


Dr Natalia Kanem

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Dr Natalia Kanem, a Panamanian, as the fifth Executive Director of UN Population Fund (UNFPA) according to a statement.

The statement by Mrs Kori Habib, the Media Associate of UNFPA Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja, stated that “Kanem holds the rank of UN Under-Secretary-General.”

Habib noted that the appointment was for four years.

She added that prior to Kanem’s appointment, she was Acting Executive Director of the fund since June, and Deputy Executive Director, Programme, since July 2016.

The UNFPA media associate stated that Kanem was also the UNFPA Representative in Tanzania from 2014 to 2016 and held senior positions in Ford Foundation and other Non-Governmental Organisations and institutions.

According to her, the new UNFPA executive director holds doctor of medicine degree from Columbia University and a master’s degree in public health from University of Washington.

She added that Kanem was also a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University in history and science.

Habib said the new UNFPA boss had expressed commitment to realise the visions of the fund.

She quoted Kanem as saying “our vision is to have a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

“As executive director, I will focus on pursuing UNFPA’s trans-formative goals, which are cemented in our new Strategic Plan 2018-2021.

“The goals include ending preventable maternal deaths, ending unintended pregnancies by meeting the demand for family planning, as well as ending Gender-Based Violence and harmful practices, such as child marriage by 2030.

“The UNFPA mandate has never been more relevant.”

Kanem said UNFPA’s work and partnerships would be more innovative, ambitious and focused at country level “to ensure that we leave no woman or adolescent girl behind.”

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