A long-standing champion of a people-centred approach to health and development and a strong advocate for social justice, Michel Sidibé became the second Executive Director of UNAIDS on 1 January 2009. He holds the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Mr Sidibé’s vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AID-related deaths has helped drive recent progress in the AIDS response. The goal of having 15 million people living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy by the end of 2015 was achieved nine months ahead of schedule. Access to these life-saving medicines has continued to expand, with 18.2 million people on treatment by mid-2016.
Under his leadership of UNAIDS, more and more countries have adopted a Fast-Track approach through which the achievement of a set of measurable targets by 2020 will set the world on course to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030 within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Today, a growing number of countries are also adopting the 90–90–90 targets, whereby 90% of people living with HIV know their status, 90% of people who know their status are accessing treatment and 90% of people on treatment have a suppressed viral load.
Mr Sidibé’s leadership in calling for the elimination of new HIV infections among children has contributed to a 60% reduction since 2009 in new paediatric HIV infections in the 21 priority countries of the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive.
His idea of shared responsibility and global solidarity has been embraced by the international community. This has encouraged an increased ownership of their epidemics by the countries most affected, with domestic resources now accounting for 57% of global AIDS spending.
Mr Sidibé’s commitment to advancing global health began in his native Mali, where he worked to improve the health and welfare of the nomadic Tuareg people. He later became Country Director for Terre des Hommes. In 1987, Mr Sidibé joined the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and went on to serve with UNICEF for 14 years, overseeing programmes across 10 francophone African countries and serving as a country representative in a number of countries.
Mr Sidibé’s work has earned him widespread recognition. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from Tuskegee University, Clark University, the University of British Columbia and KwaZulu-Natal University. Since 2007, he has held an honorary professorship at Stellenbosch University. In 2017, he was awarded the Emory President’s Medal in recognition of his work as a “passionate champion for health and humanity.”
In 2012, he was named as one of the 50 most influential Africans by the Africa Report and, in 2009, as one of 50 personalities of the year by the French newspaper Le Monde. He is a Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour of France, an Officer of the National Order of Mali, an Officer of the National Order of Benin and a Chancellor of the National Order of Chad. He has been awarded an Order of Saint-Charles by Monaco.
Mr Sidibé is fluent in English and French and speaks several African languages. He is married and has four children.