Dr.Babatunde Ahonsi, the new Representative of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, presented his credentials to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China (MOFA) in Beijing on 15 February 2017. Presenting his Letter of Credence to Counselor Huang Yiyang from the Department of International Economic Affairs of MOFA, Dr. Ahonsi expressed UNFPA’s continued commitment to work in China in the areas of sexual and reproductive health, population dynamics and gender equality through its current Eighth Country Programme Cycle (2016-2020) and heightened focus on policy advocacy and South-South Cooperation.
During the meeting with Counselor Huang Yiyang, Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi expressed sincere thanks to the Government of China for the healthy partnership with UNFPA over the past 37 years, which has led to concrete improvements in the reproductive well-being of women, youth and the elderly in China.
While reaffirming UNFPA’s commitment to further strengthen the partnership with China, Dr. Ahonsi expressed appreciation for China’s increasingly important roles in the international development arena. He informed Counsellor Huang that UNFPA will enhance its role as a broker of expertise and knowledge transfer for improving policies at the national and subnational levels related to sexual and reproductive health, gender equality, youth, and population dynamics, especially ageing and urbanization.
In order to harness the opportunities arising from China’s high level support on South-South and international cooperation, UNFPA is leveraging its global network to facilitate collaborations between Chinese institutions and their counterparts in selected African countries for the improvement of maternal health and reproductive health commodity security in the later. All these work will be undertaken in line with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.
UNFPA highly appreciates China’s leadership in the One Belt One Road initiative, as well the platforms to promote collaboration among BRICS countries. UNFPA seeks to contribute in these initiatives on matters related to sexual and reproductive health, population dynamics and gender equality.
Counsellor Huang Yiyang extended his warm welcome to Dr. Ahonsi for taking office with UNFPA China. Recognizing the close links of UNFPA’s mandate with the 2030 global development agenda, Counsellor Huang expressed his appreciation for UNFPA’s long-standing partnership with China. He acknowledged UNFPA’s contributions to China over the past 3 decades, especially in the areas of sexual and reproductive health, empowerment of women and young people. He also reinforced China’s firm commitment to advance the Sustainable Development Goals, in which the partnership with the UN, including UNFPA, will play a significant role.
Counselor Huang welcomed UNFPA to actively engage in One Belt One Road and BRICS initiatives, as well as China-Africa Cooperation. He was confident that with Dr. Ahonsi’s strong background and extensive experiences, China will continue to benefit from UNFPA’s global network and technical expertise, particularly on ‘soft’ development issues, including how best to empower less privileged groups of people.
Before joining UNFPA in China, Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi served as the UNFPA Representative in Ghana from August 2014 to January 2017.
Prior to joining the United Nations, Dr. Ahonsi held senior international positions with the Ford Foundation and the Population Council, working to advance women’s rights, youth development & sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in West Africa. He had also lectured at federal universities in Ilorin, Calabar and Lagos, Nigeria. Click the link to see Dr. Ahonsi’s bio.