Home NewsInternational UN reappoints Panama’s Natalia Kanem UNFPA as Executive Director

UN reappoints Panama’s Natalia Kanem UNFPA as Executive Director

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has reappointed Dr Natalia Kanem of Panama as Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for a second term of four years.

Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq announced the reappointment, while briefing newsmen at UN headquarters on Friday.

According to Haq, Guterres is pleased to re-appoint Kanem following consultations with the Executive Board of UNFPA.

“The secretary-general notes his appreciation of UNFPA’s powerful advocacy to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda to address population dynamics, and to empower the youth.

“Guterres appreciates UNFPA’s focus on accountability and effective management and its commitment to delivering transformative results in both development and humanitarian settings.

“Also, to end the unmet needs for contraception, end preventable maternal deaths and end gender-based violence in all its forms.”

He said the Secretary-General looked forward to driving this work further, together with the UNFPA and partners, and with urgency towards the 2030 deadline.

“Kanem brings more than 30 years of strategic leadership experience in the fields of preventive medicine, public and reproductive health, social justice and philanthropy to the role.

“And we are happy to have her around,’’ Haq quoted the secretary-general as saying.

Kanem, a Panamanian, is the Fund’s fifth Executive Director, having served as the UNFPA Representative in the United Republic of Tanzania from 2014 to 2016 and has held senior positions in the Ford Foundation and other non-governmental organisations and institutions.

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 magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University in history and science.

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