Statement by Abdoulaye Mar Dieye to UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board on the Passing of UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin

Jun 6, 2017

It was with profound sadness that we at UNDP learned of the sudden passing of Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. 

UNDP and UNFPA have had a joint governing body since 1973.  Dr. Osotimehin’s spirit of cooperation and substantive engagement has been a huge part of making our Board meetings productive with high quality discussions with Member States. 

Since taking on the leadership of UNFPA seven years ago, he worked tirelessly as a passionate and determined advocate on a wide range of crucial issues.

The impact of his efforts to strengthen sexual and reproductive health, and in particular his determination to defend and promote reproductive rights for women and girls, as well as his constant invitation to harness the demographic dividend and to enable young people to fulfill their potential have had a significant and enduring impact around the world.  Both at UNFPA and in prior roles in Nigeria, Dr. Osotimehin showed similar commitment to combatting HIV and AIDS, and indeed worked closely with UNDP on this issue. 

Dr. Osotimehin was a strong believer in the UN delivering together – particularly on the more challenging issues in relation to women and girls. We appreciate the constructive role he always played as a member of the UNDG.

Dr Osotimehin will be remembered as a dedicated advocate for the ideals and aspirations of the United Nations to create a peaceful, secure, and just world. At UNDP, many of us had the occasion not only to admire Dr. Osotimehin’s achievements from afar, but to work closely alongside him on common areas of our mutual work on behalf of the world’s poor and marginalized. We have, therefore, also lost a colleague and a friend. Dr. Osotimehin will be sorely missed. 

He believed in the power of the United Nations to change the world. He believed in the power of youth to build a better future. He believed in the power of girls to shape civilization.

All of us at UNDP extend our deepest condolences to Dr. Osotimehin’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.

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