UNAIDS: Preparing for the Future

UNAIDS Leadership Transition Working Group
March 26, 2009

Established in 1996, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) brings together several UN agencies around a single mandate to lead, strengthen, and support the global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It had been led by its founding executive director, Peter Piot, until December 2008. His departure, and the transition to the new executive director, Michel Sidibé, provides an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of UNAIDS and the best way forward.

The UNAIDS Leadership Transition Working Group was convened by the Center for Global Development and Oxford University’s Global Economic Governance Programme to make such an independent assessment. Sparked by the question of whether the world needs UNAIDS (an usual body focused on a single disease), the working group found strong rationale for the work of UNAIDS to continue but also significant room for improvement.

UNAIDS: Preparing for the Future argues that UNAIDS should focus its mission to press governments to uphold their existing commitments and take on new commitments to contain and treat AIDS that are grounded in scientific evidence and respect for human rights. The working group identifies seven actions and shifts in policy to help UNAIDS successfully reach a more focused goal:

  1. Track government commitments and drive a long-term, strategic agenda on HIV/AIDS that includes strengthening health systems and building national self-sufficiency

  2. Take a firm stand to promote policy guidance that is based on evidence and centered on human rights

  3. Promote comprehensive care in prevention, treatment, and support, particularly in underpromoted intervention areas

  4. Focus on creating more opportunities for marginalized voices in national policymaking

  5. Reduce wasteful capacity-building efforts by brokering higher-quality, long-term, locally demanded technical support

  6. Enhance coordination within the UN family and with other donors, and use clear milestones to track progress

  7. Examine the structure, management, and operations of UNAIDS


    Web annexes:

    - Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS

    - Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS

    - Millenium Development Goals

    - ECOSOC Resolution Establishing UNAIDS

    - UN Security Council Resolution on HIV/AIDS

    - Unified Budget and Workplan

    - Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Framework


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