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The lobby of the WHO Executive Boardroom
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UNAIDS PCB Special Session

This meeting did not have a Thematic Segment.

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PCB Summary Bulletin

1Special PCB Meeting | 19 April 2019

NGO Delegation’s PCB Summary Bulletin

As decided at the 43rdUNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) Meeting last December 12-14, 2018, a Special Session was held on March 28, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The NGO Delegation was in full attendance and participated actively in the deliberations and negotiations. There were two main agenda items in the meeting: 1) Update on the prevention of and response to harassment, including sexual harassment; bullying and abuse of power at UNAIDS Secretariat; and, 2) Selection process of the next Executive Director of UNAIDS.

Agenda items


Agenda Item 3 | 1Special PCB Meeting

Selection process of the next Executive Director of UNAIDS

NGO Delegate representing Latin America and The Caribbean

Intervention delivered by Alessandra Nilo

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Our delegation would like to stress the importance of this moment for the future of UNAIDS, when we have the entire world watching us. The responsibility of the new ED will be immense and we are particularly happy to see that the call for the new ED position specifically welcomes applications from women.

We strongly believe that after having two men responsible for leading UNAIDS, it is the right moment in history to have a woman taking this position: let’s remember that, globally, the HIV response relies heavily on women’s shoulders – as people living with and affected by HIV.

Let’s remember that investing and promoting women’s leadership is currently in the forefront of implementing the Agenda 2030 agenda and at a time when the world is increasingly discussing gender equality as an essential goal for sustainable development, a radical change in women’s roles within UN agencies is deeply needed.

Let’s remember that we face a war against multilateralism, evidence-based approaches, and human rights, including in many countries that until recently used to be supportive to women’s empowerment and women’s rights.

Let’s remember as it was said by many Board Members today, that UNAIDS change of leadership poses a challenge to the organization, but it is also a unique opportunity for UNAIDS to once again lead by example.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for gender parity throughout the UN system. This is excellent, but must happen in practice, at all levels. Our Delegation is concerned to learn that the achievements of the UNAIDS Secretariat around parity in staffing have since rolled back. When looking into the Gender Action Plan, it would be problematic if UNAIDS moves backward in the area of gender parity.

Therefore, we have the opportunity and obligation as a Board to fix this, not least by ensuring that we recruit strong and diverse candidates to the position of Executive Director that, also, will be a strong voice committed to intervene, with courage, in points of conflict where people living with HIV and other key populations will suffer, such as the cases of Venezuela and Cameroon.

The message we have from our Civil Society constituencies is clear: We must ensure, as a global community, we put forward women, particularly women from the Global South.

In doing so, we will send a compelling message to both the Secretary General and the world: a message that we uphold the empowerment of women at the highest level.

A message that champions regional diversity and speaks to the shifts in the global HIV epidemic. This is a message that is informed by the abundant evidence, which shows that organizations and companies with more women and more diversity are more effective and achieve greater results.

More importantly at this juncture, a safer and more respectful workplace for all UNAIDS staff will result in a better AIDS response. In the end, it will contribute to the achievement of a Stronger UNAIDS.

Thank you.

NGO Delegate representing North America

Intervention delivered by Wangari Tharao

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Thank you, Chair.

You have all heard from my fellow Delegate from Latin America, on our ideal future Executive Director. We are confident that the swift, rigorous selection process now underway will secure us that candidate.

But no matter how competent the candidate, and how suited to lead this Joint Programme into the rest of the SDG era, we will be setting up the new Executive Director for failure unless we ensure a well-funded response and a well-funded UNAIDS.

Since 2011 we have seen the increased cuts in the funds for AIDS response in general. in 2015 we saw significant drops in funding to the UBRAF with consequent reorganisation of UNAIDS, premised not primarily on how best to lead the response, but rather on how best to survive the cuts. Organisational change – even under crisis – can be a healthy phenomenon. But we have seen in the public, private, and social sectors that cutting an organisation to the bone is not healthy, is not productive and is not conducive to sector leadership.

More funding is needed to fulfill the existing gaps if the AIDS response is to achieve our collective goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. This intervention is, however, not about that threat. This intervention is about the threat to the response if it is led by an underfunded, weaker, Joint Programme. Inevitably the staff will be overstretched, with the possibility that they fail to deliver despite ridiculously hard work and commendable professionalism. Inevitably, the Programme will struggle to lead and to achieve our sustainable goals. And, possibly, quite possibly, a new Executive Director will fail in making this a stronger UNAIDS.

If this happens our constituencies of key populations and those most affected by HIV, more than most, but along with every other constituency, will suffer.

Let us not be hypocrites who search, and strive, and select and appointthe best of the best, but then place her, or him, with one hand tied behind their back due to underfunding. Let’s rather join efforts to secure that what we need we have in place.

We call for at least a return to the pre-2015 funding of UNAIDS. Let’s appoint our new Executive Director to a Joint Programme resourced to achieve our joint goals.

A new ED. New & increased resourcing. A stronger UNAIDS.

Our NGO Delegation

The Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) was created to serve as the governing body of UNAIDS. The PCB includes a Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) Delegation composed of five members and five alternates that represent five geographic regions: Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America.

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UNAIDS and the UN

UNAIDS was established in 1994 through a resolution of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and made operational in January 1996.

Read more >


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