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UNAIDS Executive Director Piot to Step Down

June 11, 2008

UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot will step down from his position when his term is over at the end of the year, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on Tuesday at the United Nations 2008 High Level Meeting on AIDS in New York, Reuters reports. Piot has served as UNAIDS executive director since the organization's inception in 1995.

Piot's replacement has not been named, according to Reuters (Bases, Reuters, 6/10). The next executive director will be chosen by the chair of the UNAIDS Program Coordinating Board, which currently is the U.S., according to UNAIDS spokesperson Mahesh Mahalingam. The final decision is up to Ban, he added. Piot said that he likely will take a job in academia.

Piot in April informed the UNAIDS board that he would step down. According to Bloomberg, Piot told the board that an ongoing five-year evaluation of UNAIDS, as well as the preparation of a new budget and plan, presented an "opportune time" to leave. "Both of these developments provide space for my successor to shape the program as they see fit and under your guidance," Piot said.

According to Piot, his largest accomplishments were increasing attention paid to HIV/AIDS at the United Nations and in governments worldwide. This contributed to larger amounts of funding being allocated for prevention and treatment programs, according to Bloomberg. "I had three goals when I took this job," Piot said, adding, "One was to put AIDS on the agenda, two was to form a broad coalition and three was to mobilize the money." Ban said that Piot's work has helped to increase the number of people in developing countries with access to antiretroviral drugs. Ban also said, "We need more leaders like Dr. Piot in every sector of society" (Lauerman, Bloomberg, 6/10).

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