United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has accepted the resignation of the UN Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Henrietta Fore as Executive Director to devote herself to a family health issue.
Farhan Haq, the Deputy Spokesman for UN Secretary-General, announced this while briefing correspondents at the UN headquarters in New York, on Tuesday.
Haq said the secretary-general fully understood her decision and had accepted it with deep regret.
“He extends his thanks and his best wishes to Executive Director Fore and her family.
“The secretary-general wishes to express his sincere appreciation to Fore for her inspiring leadership of UNICEF and for her service to improve the lives of children all around the world.
“In particular, he noted UNICEF’s critical role in the global response to COVID-19 and in reimagining education.’’
According to him, as a result of her leadership, UNICEF is now an organisation with a broader array of public and private sector partnerships and a bolder focus on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Guterres said she had also contributed enormously to efforts to build a UN system with a much stronger focus on inclusion and organisational culture.
“The secretary-general thanks Fore for her outstanding work to address the extraordinary challenges facing children and young people around the world.
“Fore took up the position of UNICEF Executive Director on Jan. 1, 2018, and will remain in her post until her successor is appointed,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Fore, announced her resignation on Tuesday, in order to devote herself full-time to caring for her husband, who is suffering from what she described as a serious health issue.
Fore said it had been “a difficult decision”, and in a message to staff, described holding the office of Executive Director as “a tremendous honour”.
“To serve the world’s children is both exhilarating and fascinating. You have achieved remarkable accomplishments at an extraordinary time, and we have so much more to do”, she told the UNICEF team.
She said she would continue in the top job until the end of the Executive Board cycle this year and the opening of the UN General Assembly in September and will remain “until my successor has been chosen”.
She added that in the meantime, she would continue to lead on developing the agency’s Strategic Plan, and also focus on countries’ access to COVID-19 vaccines.
According to her, she will focus on access to COVID-19 to help the safe return to classrooms across the world and to further accelerate the agency’s work in both humanitarian and development contexts to ensure a bright future for every child.
UNICEF’s executive director is appointed by the UN secretary-general in consultation with the executive board of the organisation.
Fore became the agency’s seventh director in January 2018, having worked in economic development, education, health, humanitarian and disaster relief as a public servant, for more than four decades.
She became the first woman to serve in the U.S. Government as Administrator of the Agency for International Development (USAID), and Director of US Foreign Assistance between 2007 and 2009.
Before that, she also served as an Under Secretary of State at the State Department.