Winnie Byanyima, the newly-appointed Executive Director of UNAIDS says the end of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 is a goal that is within the world’s reach.
“But I don’t underestimate the scale of the challenge ahead. Working with all its partners, UNAIDS must continue to speak up for the people left behind and champion human rights as the only way to end the epidemic,” she said.
Byanyima has more than 30 years of experience in political leadership, diplomacy and humanitarian engagement.
“I’m honoured to be joining UNAIDS as the Executive Director at such a critical time in the response to HIV,” she said.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Byanyima as the UNAIDS Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General following a comprehensive selection process that involved a search committee constituted by members of the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board.
The UNAIDS Committee of Cosponsoring Organisations made the final recommendation on the appointment to the Secretary-General.
Byanyima brings a wealth of experience and commitment in harnessing the power of governments, multilateral agencies, the private sector and civil society to end the AIDS epidemic around the world, according to a media release issued from Geneva.
She has been the Executive Director of Oxfam International since 2013. Prior to that, she served for seven years as the Director of Gender and Development at the United Nations Development Programme.
Byanyima began her career as a champion of marginalised communities and women 30 years ago as a member of parliament in the National Assembly of Uganda.
In 2004, she became the Director of Women and Development at the African Union Commission, working on the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, an international human rights instrument that became an important tool for reducing the disproportionate effect of HIV on the lives of women in Africa.
She holds an advanced degree in mechanical engineering (in energy conservation and the environment) from the Cranfield Institute of Technology and an undergraduate degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Manchester.