The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has appointed Winnie  Byanyima as the new Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Byanyima fills the post left by Michel Sidibe (UNAIDS ED, 2009-19) who is now minister of health in his native Mali.

In her new role, the 60-year-old Ugandan career diplomat will lead a robust team in an expanded response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic around the world.

Ms Byanyima has more than 30 years of experience in political leadership, diplomacy and humanitarian engagement.

In her acceptance message, Byanyima, who describes herself as being passionate about justice and human dignity, said she looks forward to joining the UNAIDS team and to “working closely with co-sponsors and partners to remove barriers to prevention, treatment and care”.

“I am honoured to be joining UNAIDS as the Executive Director at such a critical time in the response to HIV,” said Byanyima. “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.”

“Byanyima brings a wealth of experience and commitment in harnessing the power of government, multilateral agencies, the private sector and civil society to end the HIV and AIDS crisis for communities around the world” the UNAIDS said in a statement.

Ms Byanyima 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.

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