Press statement

UNAIDS saddened by death of Ambassador Holbrooke

GENEVA, 14 December 2010—UNAIDS is deeply saddened by the death of AIDS advocate Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. During his lifetime, Ambassador Holbrooke was a staunch supporter of the AIDS response and a valued partner of UNAIDS.

Whilst serving as United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Holbrooke was instrumental in organising the very first special session of the Security Council on HIV/AIDS in January 2000.

This was the first time United Nations member states had addressed a health and development issue at the Security Council. In July 2000, the Security Council passed Resolution 1308, emphasizing the need to stop the spread of the virus during peacekeeping operations.

“Ambassador Holbrooke managed to redefine the AIDS response by identifying AIDS, not only as a public health issue, but as matter of global security,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Through his unique actions he has mobilised world leaders and business partners in committing to the AIDS response. The AIDS movement has lost a good friend.”

In 2001, Ambassador Holbrooke led the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS in engaging the private sector to join the response to HIV. As President and CEO from 2001 until 2009, he fostered unprecedented commitment from the corporate sector to the global health agenda. Through his unique passion and drive, he was instrumental in successfully mobilising world business leaders in the response to HIV.

Ambassador Holbrooke will be deeply missed and UNAIDS extends its sincere sympathy to his family and friends at this difficult time.

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United States of America