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
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
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

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?