UN Secretary-General appoints former head of state as first Special Envoy to Stop TB
Statement from Secretary-General Spokesman
Secretary-General appoints former President Jorge Sampaio of Portugal
as first Special Envoy to Stop TB
The Secretary-General has appointed Mr Jorge Sampaio, the former President of Portugal, as his first Special Envoy to Stop Tuberculosis. Mr Sampaio, whose appointment is effective today, will work to build heightened awareness of this leading killer of our time. His immediate task will be to encourage world leaders to strengthen their commitment to TB control, and to work to reach the Millennium Development Goal of halting and beginning to reverse the incidence of the disease by 2015.
Some 5,000 people die of tuberculosis every day, and more than eight million new cases are detected annually. Mr Sampaio will lead the call for countries to fully fund and implement the Global Plan to Stop TB 2006-2015, which was launched earlier this year. The Plan sets out actions required to treat and cure 50 million TB patients, and save 14 million lives. Mr Sampaio will work closely with the Stop TB Partnership and the WHO in carrying out this crucial mission for global health.
New York, 11 May 2006
Jorge Sampaio was born in Lisbon on 18 September 1939. As a child, due to his father's career as a doctor who specialised in public health, he spent long periods in the United States and in England.
In 1961 he graduated in Law at Lisbon University. He was elected Secretary-General of the Federation of Students Associations in 1961-62. In this capacity he became involved in the student crisis in the early 60s, which led to a widespread revolts against the country's dictatorship regime, and lasted until 24 April 1974. During this time he took up a legal career and became a Law Association board member, playing an important role in the defence of political prisoners.
In 1969 he was elected to the 'National Assembly' as a member of CDE [Electoral Democratic Commission], opposing the dictatorship in force and participating in the resistance movements.
In 1974, following the 25 April revolution, he became one of the driving forces behind the creation of the M.E.S., a socialist left-wing movement, which he later abandoned due to ideological differences.
During the revolutionary years, he played an important role in promoting dialogue with the moderate wing of the Armed Forces Movement and actively supported the positions of the "Group of Nine", who played a key role in the transition to democracy. In March 1975 he was appointed Deputy Minister for External Co-operation in the IV Provisional Government. The same year, he founded the "Socialist Intervention", an association of politicians and intellectuals who were to play prominent roles in public life. In 1979 he was elected to Parliament and became a member of the National Secretariat of the Socialist Party.
From 1979 to 1984 he was a member of the European Human Rights Commission of the Council of Europe where he played an important role in defending fundamental rights and in contributing to a more dynamic implementation of the principles contained in the European Convention on Human Rights.
In 1989, he was elected Mayor of Lisbon and re-elected in 1993. As mayor, he introduced new concepts and methods for planning, management, integration and urban development.
From 1990 to 1995 he was President of the Union of Portuguese-speaking Cities (UCCLA) and in 1990 was elected Vice-President of the Union of Iberian-American Cities. He was also elected President of the Eurocities Movement (1990) and President of the World Federation of United Cities (1992).
In 1995, Jorge Sampaio stood for President or Portugal and was elected on the first ballot and sworn in as President in March 1996. He was re-elected five years later in 2001.
In 1991 he published a collection of his political essays entitled "A Festa de um Sonho". Four years later, he published "Um Olhar sobre Portugal", setting out his views on social issues. In 2000 in his book "Quero Dizer-vos", he presented his views on the challenges facing Portuguese society. At the end of his second presidential term of office in March 2006, he published "With the Portuguese People" - a series of excerpts from his speeches on a variety of subjects.
During the last decade, President Sampaio has made important contributions to several issues related to the European affairs, and to almost all the challenges currently facing the international community, including HIV-AIDS, drugs, children, human rights and independence for East Timor.