Julia Cleves

Aids policy adviser to the UN


Julia Caroline Cleves, international civil servant: born Wolverhampton, Staffordshire 17 June 1959; Chief of the Office of the Executive Director, Unaids, United Nations 1999-2003, Chief of Policy 2003-06; married 1981 David Mosse (two sons; marriage dissolved), 2002 Andrew Cassels; died Cranleigh, Surrey 5 September 2007.

Julia Cleves was a specialist in Aids, gender and development, with a particular focus on India. In her most recent role, as Chief of Policy at the joint United Nations programme on HIV and Aids (Unaids), she raised political and financial support for international action on Aids and established new public-private partnerships for increasing access to Aids medicines at a critical point in the epidemic.

She was born in Wolverhampton in 1959, second of four children and the only daughter of an RAF officer who was a teacher trainer. The family settled in Taunton and after attending first Weirfield then Taunton School, Cleves gained a First in English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Oxford provided the perfect setting for her to expore her Christian faith, her creativity and love of performance as well as to develop her distinctive style (she sat final exams in a lacy cocktail dress). She threw herself into the rapidly developing Christian arts scene through the Oxford Christian Arts and Drama Society – as performer (a beautiful and visionary Joan of Arc in Anouilh's The Lark), director of Eliot's The Cocktail Party and co-writer of a musical morality play, Beelzebub, which toured to the Edinburgh Fringe.

After graduation she married a fellow student, David Mosse (now Professor of Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies of London University). The year they spent in India, in a village in Tamil Nadu, for Mosse's research, was pivotal to Cleves's future work. She experienced "development" first-hand: poverty, caste and gender playing out in the face of the whole gamut of aid instruments, from food aid to missionary healthcare.

Back in the UK in 1983, Cleves took an MLitt, which deepened her engagement with feminism, and had a short but meteoric career in publishing at Blackwells, which spawned her desire to write. A further spell in India, this time with Mosse working for Oxfam, and now with two sons, Jacob and Oliver, produced four books, of which Half the World, Half a Chance; an introduction to gender and development (1993) and India: paths to development (1991) endured as accessible but authoritative introductory texts.

The family returned to Swansea in 1991 and after a further master's degree in population policy and planning from Cardiff University, Cleves launched into full-time research, teaching and consulting in international health at the Centre for Development Studies of Swansea University. In 1994 she was recruited as Health Adviser for the UK's Overseas Development Administration (now DFID – the Department for International Development) to work in New Delhi. This came just as Aids was widely recognised as a threat among some of India's marginalised groups, especially sex workers and long-distance truck drivers; and as the UN consensus on population and development had been reached at Cairo, which promised a shift in emphasis from "population control" towards a more woman-centred reproductive health approach. Cleves worked to establish novel patterns of assistance for health, population and HIV/Aids work throughout India. She developed a significant portfolio of networked programmes and a professional team to help manage them at community and state levels.

In 1998 Cleves came back to the UK and having attained her doctorate in international health policy took on the role of Acting Chief Health and Population Adviser at DFID, before separating from her husband and moving to Geneva in 1999 – initially to lead the executive office of the Unaids Executive Director Peter Piot, then as Unaids' Chief of Policy. At this time, the political profile of Aids was on the rise: a variety of actors was considering how best to respond.

In 2001, with characteristic verve and ability to pull off high-risk ventures, Cleves played a key role in Unaids' efforts to ensure that the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/Aids secured commitment from governments, business, civil society and communities, marking a turning point in the global response to the Aids epidemic.

She was also at the heart of several initiatives to increase the synergy of international Aids assistance to multiply its impact. These included the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the International Partnership against Aids in Africa and the Accelerating Access Initiative sponsored by the UN system, World Bank and pharmaceutical companies. Funding for Aids action increased and drastic (as much as 40-fold) reductions in prices for medicine were negotiated so that anti-Aids drugs became more accessible to millions of people. The landscape of Aids action was changed – irreversibly.

The move to Geneva also cemented her relationship with Dr Andrew Cassels, a director at the World Health Organisation with whom she had worked closely in India.

In the autumn of 2001, Julia Cleves's career was interrupted suddenly by ovarian cancer. During periods of remission, she led new work for Unaids with Shell, using its long-term forecasting techniques to explore how policymakers could confront Aids in the present. In 2002 Julia married Andrew and during this time wrote a novel and poetry, reconnected with her faith, and with Andrew built a beautiful home in Provence which they shared with family and friends. Julia Cleves had vision, humour, and prodigious stamina: and she was endlessly kind. These attributes and her contribution to international Aids, health and development work will be remembered by many – and greatly missed by those fortunate enough to have worked with her.

Elizabeth Smith, Peter Piot and David Nabarro

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Data Warehouse & Business Intelligence Co-ordinator

£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Required skills include SQL querying, SSRS, u...

Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, PHP, HTML, JavaScript, CSS

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst- Insurance

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...

Recruitment Genius: Property Manager

£25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?