Statement by India on Agenda item 8: Nomination of the next Executive Director of UNAIDS during the 44th Meeting of UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary (Geneva, 26 June 2019)

Statement by India on Agenda item 8: Nomination of the next Executive Director of UNAIDS during the 44th Meeting of UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board (PCB) delivered by Dr. Sadre Alam, First Secretary (Geneva, 26 June 2019)

Mr. Chair,

My delegationcongratulates and thanks the Search Committee for the work done by it for shortlisting suitable candidates for the position of ED, UNAIDS.

2. We note with satisfaction the interest expressed in the position of the ED. We welcome the shortlisted candidates from Africa which has the largest burden of AIDS/HIV and would like to know if the names are in the order of preference of the committee. We wish the conclusion of the process as planned for and through consensus.

Mr. Chair,

3. It is, however, concerning that not a fifth of the applicants were from Asia which not only has more than a third of the world’s population but also a significant burden of the disease. Also only a measly 1% and 4% of applications were from the Eastern Europe and the Latin America & the Caribbean regions respectively. More concerning is the fact thatnone of these candidates were considered good enough to be even shortlisted in the pre-interview stage. Further, only a fifth of the applications were from female candidates. We take positive note of the fact that the ratio is maintained in the final shortlist.

Mr. Chair,

4. It may be worth recalling that the members of this board in March this year had emphasized the need to encourage and welcome candidates from a wide geographical base. Also, it was requested that the detailed scoring tool to be developed and used by the Search Committee be shared with the members of this board, in advance. In addition to complete information about the methodology and the outcome of the search process for the sake of requisite transparency, we had also suggested that the PCB be provided with a suitable opportunity to interact with the shortlisted candidates before making an informed recommendation.

5. In view of this, we would like to suggest, inter alia, that the present report of the Search Committee be revised to include complete summarized details of all the candidates including those shortlisted along with their screening and interview scoresheets as an annex. Also, while it may have been advisable to have confidentiality around the process of the selection of the Executive Director while the process was ongoing, we suggest that the full report of the search be made available with all relevant information contained therein now that the results of the process are known and the same have been submitted to the board.

Mr. Chair,

6. Further and more importantly, we reiterate the need to ensure a determining role of the Member States of the board in the selection process of the Executive Director, for in the least, it is not proper to subordinate an inter-governmental body and process to the committee of the co-sponsors who also act autonomously of their respective governing bodies in this regard.

7. In future, we would like to see amore balanced geographical representation in the senior leadership of the organization including at the level of the Executive Director. We firmly believe that talent resides in every part of the world.

8. We strongly express the need to ensure a main lead role of the member States of this board, much beyond a mere advisory role, in the oversight and policy guidance to this programme and especially in such important decisions. We urge like-minded countries to work together on the larger issue of creating a more inclusive, transparent, representative and fit for purpose UNAIDS which is member state led and driven. The upcoming negotiations on the ECOSOC resolution on UNAIDS provides one such immediate opportunity. We request the Secretariat to fully reflect in the records of this meeting the views expressed by my delegation.

9. Lastly, we take this opportunity to reaffirm the strong commitment of my Government to realising an AIDS free India by 2030 and to contribute significantly to the global fight against the epidemic including by making treatment affordable for all everywhere.

Thank you.

 
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