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Cablegate: Unaids: Report of the Extraordinary Meeting of The

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GENEVA 000836

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR S/GAC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID KHIV UNGA
SUBJECT: UNAIDS: REPORT OF THE EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF THE
PROGRAMME COORDINATING BOARD

REF: STATE 97114

1. Summary: The UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB)
met in Extraordinary Session on October 2, 2008, to consider
candidates for the position of UNAIDS Executive Director.
The U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Mark Dybul,
chaired the meeting. While the PCB noted that all four
short-listed candidates were highly qualified, the vast
majority of PCB participants specifically endorsed the
candidacy of Michel Sidibe (Mali). The PCB will transmit its
report to the UNAIDS Committee of Co-sponsoring Organizations
(CCO), which is tasked with providing recommendations to UN
Secretary-General Ban. Secretary-General Ban appoints the
Executive Director of UNAIDS and is expected to announce his
selection in late October or early November. End Summary.

2. The Chair of the UNAIDS Search Committee, Ambassador
Marie-Louise Overvad (Denmark), presented the Search
Committee's report and short list to the PCB. The short list
included two "first tier" candidates, Michel Sidibe (Mali)
and Debrework Zewdie (Ethiopia), and two "second tier"
candidates, Tim Barnett (New Zealand) and Stefano Bertozzi
(Italian/American). PCB participants reviewed the desired
competencies that had been agreed at the 22nd PCB meeting in
April 2008, and highlighted several competencies of
particular importance. Many PCB participants stressed the
strong qualifications of the two top tier candidates and
their interest in seeing a highly qualified candidate from a
developing country selected for this post.

3. In a discussion of individual candidates, several
delegations commented upon the suitability of Mr. Barnett and
Mr. Bertozzi, but no delegation specifically endorsed either
of these applicants. The vast majority of PCB participants
endorsed Michel Sidibe, highlighting his vision, experience
in working at both the global and the country level, skill in
forging partnerships, commitment to working with civil
society groups including people living with HIV/AIDS, and
confidence in his ability to continue and build upon UNAIDS's
track record of success. PCB participants endorsing Mr.
Sidibe included: Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo,
Grenada (on behalf of CARICOM), El Salvador (on behalf of El
Salvador, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica,
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico,
Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela),
Finland, India, Iran, Luxembourg, Mauritania, Monaco (on
behalf of Monaco, Germany, France, and Liechtenstein),

GENEVA 00000836 002 OF 002


Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Senegal, Spain, Sweden,
Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, United States, Zambia, and all
five official NGO delegations. Only Ethiopia specifically
endorsed the candidacy of Dr. Zewdie, noting the value of
bringing "fresh energy and gender balance" to UNAIDS. Some
delegations, including Australia, the Netherlands and Ireland
(on behalf of Ireland, Italy, UK and San Marino), indicated
their support for both Mr. Sidibe and Dr. Zewdie. In keeping
with PCB practice, no official votes or straw polls were
held. The PCB discussion is summarized in the meeting
report, which can be found on the UNAIDS website:
http://www.unaids.org.

4. The PCB transmitted its report to the UNAIDS CCO and
requested the CCO to take this report into account when
developing recommendations for consideration by UN
Secretary-General Ban. The CCO met October 6-7 in Geneva and
will meet again on October 23 in New York to finalize its
recommendations. Secretary-General Ban is expected to
announce his selection shortly after receiving the CCO's
recommendations.

5. The PCB will review procedural issues and "lessons
learned" from this search process at its 23rd regular session
in December 2008. The Chair of the Search Committee noted
the Search Committee received relatively few highly qualified
applicants and expressed regret that the PCB had decided not
to hire an independent search firm. On the margins of the
meeting, several delegations indicated a desire for increased
transparency in future selection processes, particularly with
regard to distribution of the Search Committee report.
TICHENOR

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