Oxfam International executive director Winnie Byanyima has stepped down to be the new United Nations Programme on HIV-Aids boss.
“UNAIDS warmly welcomes the appointment of Winnie Byanyima as its new Executive Director. Ms Byanyima has more than 30 years of experience in political leadership, diplomacy and humanitarian engagement,” the global agency said in a statement on Wednesday.
She takes over from Michel Sidibé, who was appointed Minister of Health and Social Affairs of Mali in May this year.
“I am honoured to be joining UNAIDS as the Executive Director at such a critical time in the response to HIV,” Byanyima said.
“The end of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 is a goal that is within the world’s reach, but I do not 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.”
UNAIDS is leading the global effort to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
UN Secretary General António Guterres appointed Byanyima as the UNAIDS Executive Director and United Nations 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 Co-sponsoring Organizations made the final recommendation on the appointment to the Secretary General.
In an email to staff at Oxfam, Byanyima said she is taking up the UNAIDS jobe because of her passion to confront the Aids scourge.
Byanyima, a Ugandan aeronautical engineer, politician, and diplomat, has been the Oxfam International boss since 2013, having served for seven years as the Director of Gender and Development at theUnited Nations Development Programme.
She is the spouse of Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye.
She began her career as an MP in 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.
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.