Michel Sidibe Appointed Next Executive Director of UNAIDS
Michel Sidibe will succeed Peter Piot as the next executive director of UNAIDS on Jan. 1, 2009, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced Monday to coincide with World AIDS Day, Bloomberg reports (Varner, Bloomberg, 12/1). Ban made the announcement at the International Conference on Financing for Development in Doha, Qatar (AFP/Google.com, 12/1).
According to Ban, Sidibe "brings a wealth of experience together with a firm commitment to human rights and to greater involvement of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS." Sidibe, who is from Mali, has served as deputy executive director of UNAIDS for the past two years and began working for the organization in 2001 as a director of country and regional support. According to the United Nations, Sidibe "transformed UNAIDS into a more focused, efficient and effective joint program for delivering country-level results" when he joined the agency. During his tenure as deputy executive director, Sidibe managed more than 70% of UNAIDS's budget and personnel, seven regional support teams and 81 country offices, according to the United Nations (Bloomberg, 12/1). Before joining UNAIDS, Sidibe for 14 years worked at UNICEF, where he managed an immunization program for 30 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and also worked in Burundi, Swaziland and Uganda.
Sidibe in January will succeed Piot, who has led the agency since its inception in 1995. Piot in April announced his intention to resign his post at the end of the year. Ban in June said that Piot is a "tireless leader who has been at the vanguard of the response to AIDS since the earliest days of the epidemic" (Reuters, 12/1).
Piot said, "The leadership of UNAIDS is in very capable hands. UNAIDS has a vital role to play in sustaining the progress made in the global response on AIDS." Sidibe said that the "AIDS epidemic is not over in any part of the world. We have to ensure that there is strong and long term leadership and financial commitment to respond to AIDS that is grounded in evidence and human rights" (UNAIDS release, 12/1).