United Nations University in Ghana gets new Director

BY: Zadok K. Gyesi
Dr Fatima Denton
Dr Fatima Denton

The United Nations University (UNU) has appointed Dr Fatima Denton as the new Director of its Ghana-based institute.

Dr Denton, whose tenure took effect from September 10, 2018, takes over from Dr Elias Ayuk. This was contained in a statement released by the organisation in Accra.

Dr Denton is an accomplished senior leader in the UN system, respected across the research and implementation branches of the organisation.


She brings depth of expertise in natural resource management, as well as deep knowledge of research and policy development, and the African region, which will greatly enhance the research activities of UNU-INRA and benefit the global UNU system.

Prior to joining UNU, Dr Denton had worked in Ethiopia since 2012 with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), which is principally concerned with natural capital and their interactions with sustainable development. Her roles included Director of the Natural Resource Management Division and Coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre.

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Before that, Dr Denton was a Programme Leader with the Canada-based International Development Research Centre (IDRC), where she managed high-impact action research, including a major climate change adaptation research programme managing over 100 action research initiatives encompassing 40-plus projects across 33 countries in Africa.

She also worked as an energy scientist with the United Nations Environment Programme Risoe Centre (Denmark) and as an energy programme manager with Enda Tiers Monde (Senegal).

Dr Denton is a lead author for the IPCC special report on climate change and land, a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group III, and a lead author for the Working Group II Fourth and Fifth Assessment Reports and for the IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy and Climate Change Mitigation.

She has served on numerous scientific committees and boards, including the Independent Scientific Committee of the CGIAR Climate Change and Food Security Programme, and is a current member of the advisory board of Future Earth and a trustee for the UK-based International Institute on Environment and Development.

Dr Denton has written more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, reports, and books. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Birmingham (UK).

“As the new Director of UNU-INRA, I will build on the impressive work of my predecessor, Dr Elias Ayuk, by nurturing the Institute’s strategic partnerships and developing strong, reciprocal links with new stakeholders,” said Dr Denton. “In doing so, I hope to build a policy-relevant, high-impact research programme.”


UNU-INRA’s mandate is to contribute to the sustainable management of Africa’s natural resources through research, capacity development, policy advice and dissemination.

The UNU Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) contributes to the sustainable development, management, and governance of Africa’s renewable and non-renewable natural resources.

The institute also conducts research and training activities through a network of operating units in Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Namibia, Senegal, and Zambia.