UNAIDS denies shut-down discussions, but refuses to answer specific questions

Spotlight published an opinion piece this week with leaked information about UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe’s correspondence with McKinsey and Company and senior UN leaders. The piece by AIDS-Free World and Code Blue Co-Director Paula Donovan alleges 2018 will mark the beginning of the end of UNAIDS: the embattled leader has allegedly hatched a plot to begin dismantling the agency as soon as this year.

Spotlight sent a list of questions to UNAIDS regarding the allegations made by Donovan. UNAIDS declined to answer any of the specific questions, instead referring us to an email they sent to Spotlight after the publication of Donovan’s article. A further follow-up e-mail we sent to UNAIDS went unanswered. The following is the exact content of their initial e-mail to us:

 Dear Editor,

Your article of July 22 on UNAIDS is based on false and fabricated information. The UNAIDS leadership has not engaged in any consultations with Mckinsey or United Nations senior staff on the future of UNAIDS. The value of UNAIDS is clear. The dedicated staff of UNAIDS are our greatest asset. We have unfinished business as demonstrated by our recent report “Miles to go”. Together with our partners, we are focused on delivering on our goals.

Yours sincerely,

Sophie Barton-Knott

Communications Manager

These are the questions sent to UNAIDS which they declined to answer:

  1. Does Mr Sidibe deny that he used his personal e-mail to discuss     critical UNAIDS matters, including fallout from the sexual harassment allegations, with Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and Jan     Beagle?
  2. Does Mr Sidibe deny that he used his personal e-mail to discuss     critical UNAIDS matters, including fallout from the sexual harassment     allegations,  with McKinsey or representatives of McKinsey?
  3. Would Mr Sidibe have broken any UN or UNAIDS rules if he used his     personal e-mail address to discuss sensitive UNAIDS matters with other     UN staff or entities external to UNAIDS?
  4. Has Mr Sidibe had any discussions with McKinsey, or any representatives of McKinsey, about the potential closing down of     UNAIDS?
  5. How much money has UNAIDS paid to McKinsey in the last 12 months and for what?
  6. Has McKinsey been advising Mr Sidibe or UNAIDS on matters relating to alleged sexual harassment at UNAIDS?
  7. Does Mr Sidibe deny that he has been involved in discussions regarding the closing down of UNAIDS or the integration of UNAIDS into other UN or UN-linked bodies or the integration of UNAIDS into yet to     be formed UN bodies?
  8. Does Mr Sidibe deny that there is a plan for restructuring that will result in a loss of UNAIDS staff?

Spotlight will publish responses to these questions should UNAIDS decide to send answers.



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