UNAIDS boss offers to resign next June after critical report

UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibe. Independent experts looking into allegations of sexual harassment at UNAIDS said the agency is plagued by "defective leadership," a culture of impunity, and a toxic working environment that cannot be changed unless there is a change in leadership. Copyright 2018. The Associated Press. All rights reserved

The under-fire UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibe has offered to quit next June after an expert report into sexual harassment at the Geneva-based agency criticised his “defective leadership”. 

This content was published on December 13, 2018

The executive director announced his plans to leave next summer at a UNAIDS board meeting in Geneva on Thursday, agency spokesman Mahesh Mahalingham told AP. He took up the job in 2009. 

This follows a scathing report by independent expertsExternal link released last week, which blames UNAIDS leaders for a "vacuum of accountability" and a culture of impunity. They said management had failed to prevent or properly respond to allegations of harassment including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power in the agency. 

UNAIDS, which spearheads the global fight against Aids and HIV, has its headquarters in Geneva. 

News reports said Sweden, UNAIDS second biggest donor after the US, had said it would withhold funding until Sidibe resigned. Sweden provided $30.8 million to UNAIDS in 2017, second only to $82.4 million from the United States. 

The independent panel behind the critical report was created earlier this year following allegations of sexual harassment by staffers and calls from critics for Sidibe to step down. 

Following Thursday’s board meeting, the UNAIDS oversight body, the Programme Coordinating Board, called for the immediate implementation of the “UNAIDS agenda for changeExternal link” to address harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power. 

In a statementExternal link, Sidibe said he would work to ensure “a smooth transition and pledge to keep my focus on our staff and delivering results for the people we serve."


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