Congratulations to Dr. Natalia Kanem on being selected as the next Executive Director of UNFPA!

Posted on October 4, 2017

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Dr. Natalia Kanem born in Panama as the Fund’s fifth Executive Director. She will succeed Dr. Babatunde whom we mourn and honor as the strong and invaluable ally in advocating for women and girls’ health and rights, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

WGNRR wants to congratulate Dr. Kanem and we look forward to a strong and continued collaboration. In particular we ask that in your role as Executive Director, you support and advance all commitments to women and girls’ health, particularly their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), in order to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all people at all ages.

It is imperative that you stand strong to resist any attempted rollbacks on SRHR, and ensure that young women and adolescent girls’ health and rights remain a priority. It is also of vital priority that you work towards the ensuring and expansion of the provision of comprehensive sexuality education and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, including safe and legal abortion and post-abortion care, that are accessible, affordable, confidential, and high-quality, free of marital and parental consent requirements.

The Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda cannot be achieved without prioritizing the health and rights of women and girls, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights. In light of these recent backslides, it is imperative that you stand strong to achieve the following:

  • Resist any attempted rollbacks on women’s health, and ensure that women and girls’ health and rights remain a priority
  • Ensure that women and girls’ health and rights, including their SRHR, are incorporated into strategies for achieving universal health coverage and access to healthcare
  • Reaffirm and advance evidence- and rights-based commitments to promote physical and mental health and wellbeing, including universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services.

Sustainable development includes respecting, protecting, and fulfilling the human rights of all women and girls. As such, we urge you as incoming Executive Director to fully support, pursue, and defend a comprehensive approach to women’s SRHR, accounting for the full spectrum of women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health issues, needs, and rights. We thank you and stand ready to work with you in this regard.

Sincerely,

WGNRR team