Steven has a long and distinguished career in family planning and sexual and reproductive health. He was director general of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) from 2002 to 2006 and earlier directed the population programme of the Rockefeller Foundation and USAID’s Office of Population. Steven has served as an Alliance trustee since November 2006.
In an interview for the Loop Steven outlined his views on steering the Alliance through these tough economic times.
“As Chair, I will have a major responsibility to help the Alliance stabilise, secure and hopefully increase financial stability. With the recession severely constraining many donors, combined with a disposition to reduce the focus of HIV and AIDS in favour of health system strengthening and health partnerships, competition for AIDS funding is going to be more intense in the coming period.
“However, with the advent of the Obama administration in the USA some of the controls placed on HIV and AIDS funding have been removed so working with America will be easier and less constrained than before. I believe that the new Obama administration will do all it can to maintain and increase funding, and despite the hard times, we will see a push for stronger collaboration between HIV and reproductive health programmes.
“One trend that’s unlikely to change is the donors’ commitment to funding at a country level so the Alliance will need to work harder than ever to strengthen Linking Organisations to be competitive vis-à-vis the Global Fund and the local offices of bilateral donors in securing and sustaining adequate funds.
“With this challenging environment we will need to continue looking for new opportunities to improve the linkages with natural partners, not shift our focus away from HIV and AIDS but work with partners on related issues such as sexual and reproductive health and TB.
“We also need to become as effective on HIV prevention as we have been on treatment and care. The Alliance has the potential to play a leadership role on prevention with respect to key populations. I think we can engage very constructively on this, although it’s a real challenge."
In his role as a board member Steven has chaired the Alliance’s Policy and Advocacy Committee.
“I’m going to miss chairing the Policy and Advocacy Committee. It’s been very rewarding as a board member to be so involved in policy work and it’s given me the opportunity to work somewhat closer to the programmes than a board member usually can.
“Being on the board has been one of the greatest pleasures of my post-IPPF career. I’ve really enjoyed the interaction with other members and the Alliance Secretariat staff. There hasn’t been as much opportunity as I’d like to meet many members of the Alliance family in the field so I’m looking forward to getting out to see some programmes.”
Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director said, “We are delighted to welcome Steven as our new Chair of the Board of Trustees. I am particularly looking forward to working with him as we steer the Alliance through what is currently a difficult and challenging economic environment.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Callisto Madavo (Zimbabwe) who has guided the Alliance through significant changes over the last two years. I have benefited from his insightful advice and support. The Alliance owes much to him for all his dedicated work over the years.”