UN mourns passing of population agency chief Babatunde Osotimehin, 'a champion of health for all'

UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, with a Syrian teenage girl with special needs at the Nizip Camp in Turkey. Photo: UNFPA/Nezih Tavlas

5 June 2017 – Secretary-General António Guterres and other senior United Nations officials have paid tribute to Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), who passed away suddenly this morning at the age of 68.

“Dr. Osotimehin was admired globally for his leadership of the UN Population Fund and for his forceful advocacy for the world's women and girls in particular,” said Secretary-General Guterres in a statement.

“The world has lost a great champion of health and well-being for all.”

A renowned global public health leader, Dr. Osotimehin was widely regarded for his work on sexual and reproductive health. He was appointed as the head UNFPA in November 2010 and assumed office on 1 January 2011. He also held senior positions in the Nigeria, including the country's Minister of Health.

In his statement, the UN chief also recalled Dr. Osotimehin's “calm yet ardent efforts” that helped families avail of sexual and reproductive health services they needed, as well as his work in helping the world advance the landmark 1994 Cairo Programme of Action on Population and Development, which continues to serve as a comprehensive guide to people-centred development progress.

“His voice was invaluable over the years, including his time as Nigeria's Minister of Health, in pressing for family planning, women's education, children's health and action on HIV/AIDS as vital ingredients in human progress,” he added, offering his sincere condolences to Dr. Osotimehin's family, the staff of UNFPA as well as to the Government and people of Nigeria.