Winnie Byanyima joins UNAIDS
Winnie Byanyima joins UNAIDS as its new Executive Director. File Photo

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) has warmly appreciated the appointment of Winnie Byanyima as it’s new Executive Director. 

With more than 30 years of experience in political leadership, diplomacy and humanitarian engagement, Ms Winnie Byanyima is now the new Executive Director of UNAIDS.

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, appointed Ms Winnie 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.

Recently, Ms Winnie Byanyima confirmed that she had left her role as the Executive Director for Oxfam.

In a statement, Ms Winnie Byanyima released upon her resignation she said,

“I feel torn at the idea of leaving Oxfam. I’ve been so honoured to lead Oxfam over the last seven years.”

Following her appointment to the new role, Ms Byanyima said that she’s honoured to be joining an organization for AIDS struggle and also promised to embark on the goal to end AIDS as a health threat by 2030. 

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

As the new Executive Director, Ms 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.

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Ms Byanyima has been the Executive Director of Oxfam International since 2013. Before that, she served for seven years as the Director of Gender and Development at the United Nations Development Programme.

She began her career as a champion of marginalized 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.

Ms Byanyima 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.

By John Dalton Kigozi