Press Release

UNFPA announces appointment of new Deputy Executive Directors for Management and Programme

24 June 2020

UNFPA, The United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, welcomed today the appointment of Ms. Diene Keita and Mr. Ib Petersen as new Deputy Executive Directors for Programme and for Management, respectively. Their appointments were announced by Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General. 

Ms. Diene Keita, who recently served as Minister for Cooperation and African Integration with the Republic of Guinea, brings to the position nearly 30 years of experience within the United Nations System.  Ms. Keita  started her career with the UN in 1990 with the United Nations Development Programme, where she occupied a variety of roles before moving to UNFPA in 2006. She served as a UNFPA Representative in Mauritania, Benin, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Nigeria, also acting as United Nations Resident Coordinator in Mauritania, Benin and DRC before joining the Guinean Government as a Cabinet Minister in 2018. 

Throughout her career, she has worked extensively on the empowerment of women and youth, inclusive growth, demographic issues, sustainable human development, sexual and reproductive health, as well as gender-based violence in humanitarian settings.

Mr. Ib Petersen, who recently served as Director for the Department of Migration, Conflict and Stabilization of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, brings to the position over 30 years of experience within the spheres of bilateral and multilateral affairs and development. He served as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations from 2013 until 2019, having started his career with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1985. He held various positions, including State Secretary of Development Cooperation, Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the United Nations from 2007 until 2009 and State Secretary for Development Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2009 until 2013. 

Working for women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights has been a central element of Mr. Petersen’s professional life, often in partnership with UNFPA. For him, this is an unfinished agenda under pressure, not least in times of Covid-19. 

"Today at UNFPA, a new chapter is beginning," said Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA Executive Director. "Our newly-named Deputy Executive Directors are deeply committed to the aims and undaunted by the challenges of UNFPA’s work on the ground in countries and in regions, where it counts. They have proven themselves skillful champions of our mandate. They are ideally equipped to work with our partners to deliver on the unfinished business for women and girls, as was highlighted at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25."

Both will take up their duties for UNFPA in the coming months, serving under UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Kanem. Ms. Keita is succeeding Mr. Dereje Wordofa as Deputy Executive Director (Programme) and Mr. Petersen is succeeding Ms. Laura Londen as Deputy Executive Director (Management).

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