Thoraya Ahmed Obaid

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid is the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the world's largest multilateral source of population assistance. She is also Chair of the High-level Committee on Management of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination. Ms. Obaid has served as Director of the UNFPA Division for Arab States and Europe, as Deputy Executive Director of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and as Chief of its Social Development and Population Division. She has worked with non-governmental organizations to advocate women's equality.

A bold and ambitious agenda was set forth in the Millennium Development Goals to raise the quality of life of all individuals and promote human development. The MDGs represent our collective aspirations for a better life and provide a minimum road map on how to get there.

Momentum is building to eliminate the most pervasive yet least recognized human rights abuse in the world -- violence against women. Studies show that 70 per cent of women experience some form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Everywhere, communities, civil society and governments are mobilizing to end practices that harm the health, dignity, security and autonomy of women and negatively impact society as a whole. The United Nations system is working together to support partners in this effort.