Women Deliver’s Statement on the New Executive Director of the UNFPA, Natalia Kanem – Women Deliver

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Women Deliver’s Statement on the New Executive Director of the UNFPA, Natalia Kanem


Women Deliver congratulates Dr. Natalia Kanem on being selected as the next Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund. She comes with a wealth of experience and a strong voice that is needed now more than ever.


The world is facing a conservative tide that threatens to rip away girls’ and women’s rights to their own bodies, undercut gender equality, and deny the importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights. We’re counting on UNFPA to strongly stem that rising tide.
The global health and development community has mourned the untimely death of former UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, who was a passionate voice for girls and women. Under Dr. Kanem’s new leadership, UNFPA must continue to serve as a bold champion for gender equality and for the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women.
Women Deliver encourages the new Executive Director of UNFPA to:
  • Keep fighting for everyone’s full sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Strengthen the connections between population, gender equality, and a healthy, prosperous world – using gender and age disaggregated data to clearly articulate the investment case for prioritizing girls and women.
  • Stand up for comprehensive sexuality education and investment in young people, their needs, opportunities, and meaningful youth engagement.
  • Facilitate an environment where civil society organizations have the physical, economic, and political spaces to engage with the United Nations and member states.
  • Take a holistic and integrated approach to girls and women's lives – working closely with women themselves, civil society, and other UN Agencies within education, economics, and environment to achieve progress for all.


We all have a role to play during this crucial time for the world. Funders must continue to invest in girls and women, including funding UNFPA. NGOs like Women Deliver must continue to work alongside UNFPAand serve as watch dogs to ensure accountability and delivery in the promises. And UNFPA, with Dr. Kanem at the front, must be a tireless changemaker and strong voice for girls’, women’s, and young people’s health and rights. Too many are retreating from these important issues, but working together, we will not only stem the rising tide, but continue driving progress for all.

Warm congrats to Dr. Natalia Kanem. We are looking forward to working with you. 

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