Nafis Sadik

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Nafis Sadik (born 1929), currently Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General with additional responsibilities as Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia, and former executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) from 1987 to 2000. She retired from this job in December 2000.[1][2][3][4]



Before joining the United Nations, Dr. Nafis Sadik was Director-General of the Pakistan Central Family Planning Council, the Government agency charged with carrying out the national family planning programme. She had joined the Council in 1966, as Director of Planning and Training. She was appointed Deputy Director-General in 1968 and Director-General in 1970. Prior to that, in 1964, Dr. Sadik was appointed head of the Health Section of the Government’s Planning Commission. From 1954 to 1963, Dr. Sadik served as civilian medical officer in various Pakistani armed forces hospitals.[3]

United Nations[edit]

Dr. Nafis Sadik, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General and his Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, joined the UN Population Fund in 1971. Shortly after the sudden death of the UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Rafael Salas, UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar appointed her to succeed him, in 1987, thus becoming the first woman to head one of the United Nations' major voluntarily-funded programmes.[3]

Nafis Sadik has consistently called attention to the importance of addressing the needs of women, and of involving women directly in making and carrying out development policy. This is particularly important for population policies and programmes in the Third World and developing countries. In these countries, her groundbreaking strategy for providing females with education and the tools to control their own fertility has dramatically influenced the global birthrate.

In June 1990, the Secretary-General of the United Nations appointed Dr. Nafis Sadik Secretary-General of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), 1994.[4]

Other activities[edit]

Nafis Sadik's contribution to improving the health of women and children of the global community has brought her many international awards and honours.

She is a member of the Board of Governors of the Foundation for Human Development, and a member of the South Asian Commission on the Asian Challenge. Dr. Sadik was the President of the Society for International Development (SID) for the period 1994–1997.

After her retirement from United Nations Population Fund, she has served on several boards of directors and advisory panels of non-profit organizations and research institutions in the area of population control including on the Advisor Board for the German Foundation for World Population. Nafis Sadik is an Emeritus Member of Population Action International.[3]


Personal life[edit]

A national of Pakistan, Nafis Sadik was born in Jaunpur, British India and is a daughter of Iffat Ara and Muhammad Shoaib, former Finance Minister of Pakistan. She holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from Dow Medical College in Karachi. Nafis Sadik was Director-General of the Pakistan Central Family Planning Council. She began her career by working in women's and children's wards in Pakistan Armed Forces hospitals.[3] Later she served an internship in gynaecology and obstetrics at City Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and finished her further education at the Johns Hopkins University.[3][4]


Nafis Sadik is widely published in the family planning and population control areas:[4]

  • Population: The UNFPA Experience (New York University Press, 1984)
  • Population Policies and Programmes: Lessons Learned from Two Decades of Experience, (New York University Press, 1991)
  • Making a Difference: Twenty-five Years of UNFPA Experience, (Banson, London, United Kingdom, 1994)[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fighting Population With Women's Rights: Meeting: Nafis Sadik has spent years promoting family planning. The head of this week's U.N. conference sees equality as key to controlling world's numbers Los Angeles Times (newspaper), Published 4 September 1994, Retrieved 5 July 2018
  2. ^ Cathleen Miller. "Champion of Choice: The Life and Legacy of Women's Advocate Nafis Sadik (Book Review and profile of Nafis Sadik)". University of Nebraska Press. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g An Agenda for People: The UNFPA Through Three Decades (includes profile of Nafis Sadik) GoogleBooks website, Retrieved 5 July 2018
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Nafis Sadik profile on PAI Washington website Retrieved 5 July 2018

External links[edit]