UNITED NATIONS, Aug 16 (APP):The United Nations and Pakistan have expressed sorrow over the passing of Dr. Nafis Sadik, the former Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor and Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, and paid tributes to her services.
Dr. Sadik, a Pakistani national, died in her sleep on Sunday in New York where she had settled after retirement from the UN service. She was 92.
Her funeral will take place on Wednesday.
In a statement, released by his spokesman, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “When Dr. Sadik took up her post at UNFPA in 1987, she became the first woman to head one of the UN’s major voluntarily-funded programmes.
“She consistently called attention to the importance of addressing the needs of women, and of involving women directly in making and carrying out development policy, which she believed was particularly important for population policies and programmes.
“Dr. Sadik will be remembered for her significant contributions to women’s health and rights and population policies and for her tireless efforts to combat HIV/AIDS.
“The Secretary-General extends his sincere condolences to her friends and family,” the statement added.
Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Munir Akram said, “I am deeply saddened by the passing of Dr Nafis Sadiq, a proud Pakistani woman, a great leader and a visionary internationalist, who served her country and the international community with a bold vision.”
“She was a role model for generations of women in Pakistan and across the world. She was also my friend and mentor. I will miss her,” Ambassador Akram added.
UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem also praised Dr. Sadik’s leadership qualities.
“As Secretary-General of the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994 and architect of its groundbreaking Programme of Action, Dr. Sadik was a trailblazer who made indelible contributions to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, women’s leadership and global development.
“Her bold vision and leadership in Cairo set the world on an ambitious path – a journey that passed through Beijing and the 1995 World Conference on Women, helped shape the Millennium Development Goals and anticipated the transformative vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 integrated and universal Sustainable Development Goals. This journey has helped transform the lives of millions of women and girls.
“On behalf of UNFPA, I extend sincere condolences to Dr. Sadik’s family, to the Government and people of Pakistan, to women around the world and to all who are mourning her loss.”