UNFPA's new Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia takes up office

9 June 2016
New UNFPA Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Director Alanna Armitage
New UNFPA Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Director Alanna Armitage

ISTANBUL – Alanna Armitage has been appointed as the new Director of UNFPA’s Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia and assumed her new function.

“This is an exciting moment to take the helm of UNFPA in Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” said Ms. Armitage. “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development gives UNFPA an unprecedented opportunity to help improve women's and young people's lives in this region," Ms Armitage said. "The challenge is clear: we need to address the region's unique population dynamics, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health, and harness the potential of young people".

Ms. Armitage has worked to promote women’s health, development and human rights for the past 25 years. She joined UNFPA in 1992, and has served in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Latin America where she was UNFPA Representative in Brazil, and Country Director for Argentina and Paraguay. Before her current assignment, Ms. Armitage was Director of UNFPA’s Geneva office for seven years.

She has worked closely with Government policy makers, parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations and leaders from all sectors to champion the health of women and girls, including in humanitarian and emergency settings.

Prior to joining UNFPA, Ms. Armitage worked for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the United Nations Development Programme. She started her career in the NGO world with community-based organizations promoting women’s health and rights.

The new Regional Director is Canadian and holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Western Ontario, a Masters in International Development and Cooperation from the University of Ottawa, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Health Systems Management from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She’s completing a PhD in Anthropology and Sociology of Development at the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

Ms. Armitage took over from Heimo Laakkonen, who retired last month, having headed the Regional Office since March 2014.

UNFPA’s Regional Office in Istanbul provides strategic support and technical expertise to partners and country offices in nearly 20 countries across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.