UNFPA expresses gratitude for display of solidarity for Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin

21 July 2017
Ms. Kiki Ghebo, UN Namibia Resident Coordinator, signs a book of condolence for Dr. Osotimehin.  (Photo: UNFPA Namibia/Emma Mbekele)
Ms. Kiki Ghebo, UN Namibia Resident Coordinator, signs a book of condolence for Dr. Osotimehin. (Photo: UNFPA Namibia/Emma Mbekele)

The United Nations Population Fund in Namibia is grateful for the expressions of solidarity and condolences it received from the Government of the Republic of Namibia, members of the diplomatic corps, partners, sister UN agencies, friends and the public following the passing away of its Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, on 4 June 2017.

“Namibia sincerely shares in your great loss and wishes you strength and consolation during this difficult period of mourning,” stated Hon Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations in a letter.

“It is not always we have an African in top positions in the UN and one who contributed greatly to fight against HIV and for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR)…. It is a loss for UN and Africa and all we can do as promoters of SRHR and women’s rights is to continue the fight in his memory,” wrote Advocate Bience Gawanas, former African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs.

Born on 6 February 1949, the 68 year old Nigerian was a physician and global leader of public health, and the empowerment of women and young people, with a strong focus on promoting human rights in population and development.

His professional background was in health and medicine and he had extensive knowledge of the global and national frameworks and processes critical to UNFPA’s work.

After his appointment as UNFPA Executive Director, effective on 1 January 2011, he spearheaded efforts in the international community to advance the milestone consensus of the International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994.

Upon moving into his second term in 2015, Dr. Osotimehin introduced new reforms that increased the effectiveness and efficiency of UNFPA and outlined a more robust vision for improving the lives of women, adolescents and youth around the world with a focus on maternal health and voluntary family planning. He also steered UNFPA’s humanitarian action and efforts around eliminating gender-based violence and other harmful practices.

UNFPA is dedicated to continuing Dr. Osotimehin’s grand vision for women and young people and will continue to stand up for the human rights and dignity of everyone, particularly the most vulnerable adolescent girls.

Dr. Osotimehin’s was laid to rest in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Friday, 21 July 2017.

By Emma Mbekele