UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, the head of the United Nations’ children’s agency, wants to step down to deal with a family health crisis, according to a U.N. official.
Fore, who was previously the head of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and was selected to lead UNICEF by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in 2018, will remain in the position until a replacement is found.
Since it was established in 1946, UNICEF has had seven executive directors – all Americans.
Guterres thanked Fore for “her inspiring leadership of UNICEF and for her service to improve the lives of children all around the world,” noting UNICEF’s critical role in the global response to COVID-19, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said.
“As a result of her leadership, UNICEF is now an organization with a broader array of public and private sector partnerships and a bolder focus on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” Haq added, referring to a set of global goals adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2015. They include ending extreme poverty and hunger, reducing inequality and achieving gender equality.