Keynote Address | By Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, Under-Secretary-General of the UN

During his keynote address at the Sustainable Health and Development event, UNAIDS Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Michel Sidibé reflected on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) achievements around HIV/AIDS, and how lessons learned from this experience could shape the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He stressed the need to evolve our thinking around global health partnerships post-2015, especially in terms of encouraging public private partnerships (PPPs) that are result-focused, people-centric as far as deliverables and participation, and that leverage existing resources in low and middle-income countries.

He attributed the success of the MDG #6 (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases) to global solidarity, the successful mobilization of resources, and the shift from disease focused approaches to a strategy that linked HIV/AIDS to other issues including maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH), tuberculosis, and human rights. In this effort to deal with health in general, governments engaged civil society groups and the private sector in ways that introduced new debates on shared responsibility, shared investments in research and development, and drug price negotiations. According to Mr. Sidibé, these dynamics have changed the paradigm of treating people through the use of science as a force of activism, and more African governments increasing their health budgets, establishing antidiscrimination programs, and mobilizing more resources to support women and adolescent girls. Additionally, there is a growing realization that health security is not possible without individual risk management, and that in order to address issues such as climate change and new energy, we must first deal with the health of the people.

Mr. Sidibé stated that setting ambitious goals inspires transformation, and stressed the importance of political will in successfully transitioning from disease-specific approaches to contemplating the overall health of a population. He encourages the community to view health as not a cost, but an investment in the population, and calls for a data revolution to facilitate decision making at the country level and strengthen the management of emerging epidemics.