GENEVA, 11 July 2013 - The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) welcomes the appointment of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as the new Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).
Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka was the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President of South Africa. She also played a central role in the government's HIV programme, serving as chair of the South African National AIDS Council where she took the lead in ensuring broader and more cohesive collaboration with international and civil society partners.
"Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka is a respected leader and brings with her a wealth of experience in promoting the human rights of women and girls," said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. "She will be an important partner in the AIDS response as women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV. We look forward to working closely with her to improve the lives of women and girls everywhere."
Gender equality and respect for women's sexual and reproductive health and rights, especially for women living with HIV, are essential for an effective response to HIV. Persistent gender inequalities and women's rights violations are continuing to make women and girls more vulnerable to HIV and prevent them from accessing HIV services. In 2011 there were nearly 17 million women living with HIV and HIV continues to be the leading cause of death in women of reproductive age.
UN Women was established in 2011 to provide a dynamic and powerful voice at national, regional and global levels for women's rights and equality. It ensures that new opportunities for women and girls are central to UN programmes and that the UN system continues to protect the rights of women and girls around the world.
UN Women also highlights the contributions and priorities of women living with or affected by HIV and has contributed to integrating gender aspects into the plans and policies developed by national AIDS councils in more than 35 countries and regional programmes. UN Women is the newest of UNAIDS 11 Cosponsoring organisations, having joined in June 2012.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations - UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank - and works closely with global and national partners to maximize results for the AIDS response. Learn more at www.unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.