Santiago, 5 June 2017
Dear Osotimehin family,
Colleagues and friends,
It is with the deepest sadness that I have learned of the premature passing of our colleague Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and staunch ally of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), especially in its work for girls, women and youth.
These grievous tidings come as a sad blow for the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean, a region to which Dr. Osotimehin devoted continuous attention and care.
In this bitter hour, we would like to convey our affection and solidarity to Dr. Osotimehin’s family.
Babatunde Osotimehin was always a leader whose drive helped to put the rights of women and girls in the global spotlight. A testament to this was his crucial participation in the thirteenth session of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Montevideo in October 2016.
In his unforgettable statement on that occasion, Dr. Osotimehin warned us about the high rates of adolescent fertility in Latin America and the Caribbean and called for access to sexual and reproductive health care for girls and adolescents in our region.
Dr. Osotimehin was a fervent supporter of the work of UNFPA with the Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre (CELADE) – Population Division of ECLAC, and this cooperation was of strategic importance in building the capacities of the region’s countries to integrate population and development issues into public agendas.
At this time of grief and reflection, let us determine to preserve Dr. Osotimehin’s legacy to the benefit of gender equality and respect for the rights of the world’s young women and men.
May I express the hope that time and fond memories will soothe the deep pain of his loss.
In deepest sympathy,
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)