United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin is a global leader of public health, women’s empowerment and young people, particularly focused on promoting human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as population and development. Since his appointment as UNFPA Executive Director, effective 2011, he has spearheaded efforts by the international community to advance the milestone consensus of the International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994.
Already into his second term as Executive Director as of 2015, Dr. Osotimehin has introduced new reforms that have 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. His leadership and advocacy with governments and other key stakeholders will continue to focus on youth and voluntary family planning. He is also steering UNFPA’s humanitarian action and efforts around eliminating gender-based violence and other harmful practices.
Dr. Osotimehin believes that humility is the key to engaging people and facilitating change. “Humility to engage with the other person of the other community in such a way that they know that you respect them,” he says. Cultural sensitivity and understanding are vital.
Dr. Osotimehin’s professional background is in health and medicine. He has extensive knowledge of the global and national frameworks and processes that are critical to UNFPA’s work. He previously served as Nigeria’s Minister of Health and as the Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of HIV and AIDS, which coordinates all HIV/AIDS work in Nigeria.
The UNFPA Executive Director serves in various advisory boards and councils. He chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Demographic Dividend and co-chairs the Family Planning 2020 Reference Group.
Dr. Osotimehin completed his medical studies at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1972 and received a doctorate in medicine from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, in 1979. He was named Professor at the University of Ibadan in 1980 and headed the Department of Clinical Pathology before being elected Provost of the College of Medicine in 1990. He has served as chair and member of several academic and health organizations, including as Chair of the National Action Committee on AIDS, between 2002 and 2007. Dr. Osotimehin received the Nigerian national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger, in December 2005.
Dr. Osotimehin is married and has five children.