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Nafis Sadik, U.N. Official and ‘Proud Champion of Choice,’ Dies at 92

todayAugust 20, 2022 4

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Dr. Sadik harnessed that insight while leading the Population Fund, working with other top U.N. officials, many of them women, to bolster women’s rights with the idea that population growth would ebb as they gained more control over their lives.

She also approached the population issue from the perspective of its impact on the natural environment. She wrote in a 1987 Times opinion essay that some people believed that population growth was “environmentally neutral,” but that “deforestation and extinction of species are strong evidence to the contrary.”

“It is now clear,” she added, “that the number of people on earth is having a major impact on the environment, on the world economy and on other people — in short, it is affecting how we live now and how we will live.”

In addition to her son, Dr. Sadik is survived by three daughters, Ambereen Dar, Wafa Hasan and Ghazala Abedi; a sister, Nighat Qureshi; 10 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Her husband, Azhar Sadik, a retired oil executive and former major in the Pakistani army, died in 2011. Another daughter, Mehreen Sadik, died in 2015.

Carol Bellamy, whose tenure as the executive director of UNICEF, the U.N.’s child-aid agency, overlapped with Dr. Sadik’s in the same role at the population fund, called her an “incredible leader” who was “thoughtful but tough, in the best sense.”

In an interview, Ms. Bellamy, a former president of the New York City Council, credited Dr. Sadik’s vision with making the 1994 Cairo conference a “breakthrough”; it not only acted to curb population growth but also set goals for improving educational opportunities for women and children and for cutting rates of infant, child and maternal mortality.

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