US: Guterres names new head of UN Population Fund

New York, US (PANA) – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday appointed Dr Natalia Kanem of Panama to head the UN Population Fund.

In making the announcement, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric highlighted that Dr. Kanem “brings to the position more than three decades of strategic leadership and management in the fields of medicine, public health, international peace and development, human rights and social justice”.

She holds the rank of United Nations Under-Secretary-General.

She replaces Nigerian Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, who died in June this year.

Currently serving as the agency’s Acting Executive Director, the new Under-Secretary-General is the fifth Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Prior to that, she was the UNFPA’s Deputy Executive Director for Programmes and earlier, its Representative in Tanzania.

A UN statement said she started her career in academia with the Johns Hopkins and Columbia University schools of medicine and public health.

While serving as a Ford Foundation Officer from 1992 to 2005, Dr. Kanem helped pioneer work in women’s reproductive health and sexuality, in particular through her position as the representative for West Africa. She then served at the Foundation headquarters, becoming Deputy Vice-President for its worldwide peace and social justice programmes in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and North America.

Dr. Kanem holds a doctor of medicine degree from Columbia University and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Washington. She is also a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University in history and science.

“I am deeply committed to realizing the UNFPA vision for a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled,” Dr. Kanem said.

“As Executive Director, I will focus on pursuing UNFPA’s transformative goals, which are cemented in our new Strategic Plan 2018-2021: 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,” she said. “Our work and partnerships must therefore be even more innovative, ambitious and focused at country level to ensure that we leave no woman or adolescent girl behind.”

Dr. Kanem’s appointment is for four years.
-0- PANA MA 3Oct2017

03 october 2017 20:30:24

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