Agenda 3 – intervention by Wangari Tharao, North American delegate

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.

PCB Special Session March 2019

Agenda Item3: Selection process of the next Executive Director of UNAIDS

Delivered by Wangari Tharao, NGO North America


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