Press statement

UNAIDS welcomes Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as new Director-General of the World Health Organization

GENEVA, 23 May 2017—UNAIDS warmly welcomes the appointment of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). The announcement was made during an appointment ceremony that took place after WHO Member States cast their final votes at a closed session during the 70th World Health Assembly.

“Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is a driving force for change with vast experience and expertise in global health,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “He is a dynamic leader, an excellent convener and shares our ambition to end AIDS as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. I look forward to working closely with him to achieve our goals.”

In an interview with UNAIDS, Mr Tedros said that lessons learned in the AIDS response have been critical to shaping the future of global health. He said that the creativity, commitment and multisectorality of the AIDS response will be needed to place universal health coverage at the centre of the implementation of all Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr Tedros is currently a Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. He has 30 years of experience in health leadership, politics and diplomacy, during which he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Health of Ethiopia. He will take up his new position on 1 July 2017, taking over from Margaret Chan, who served as the Director-General of WHO for 10 years.

WHO is one of UNAIDS’ 11 Cosponsors advancing the response to HIV. UNAIDS will work closely with the new Director-General of WHO to advance progress in global health and end the AIDS epidemic as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.


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 towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


Sophie Barton-Knott
tel. +41 79 514 6896

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