New Board Leadership, Strategy Discussions Take Center Stage at Global Fund 33rd Board Meeting

Nisa PatelArticle

The Global Fund’s Board met in Geneva for its 33rd Meeting from March 30-April 1, where questions of new leadership and future strategic direction took center stage.

The PSD held its semi-annual pre-Board meeting on March 29 to review and propose positions on the slate of upcoming Board decisions. Representatives from AbbVie, Accenture Development Partnerships, Anglo American, BD, Eli Lilly, Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Mylan, Novartis, Sanofi, TropMed Pharma Consulting, Vale and US Pharmacopeia attended. On March 30, members met with other Board constituencies including government donors, civil society organizations and private foundations and hosted a side meeting on the role of the private sector in strengthening health systems. Read below for more information on key discussions and deliberations.

THE PSD WELCOMES NEW BOARD LEADERSHIP

The Board appointed a new Chair and Vice Chair for a two-year term (2015-2017). Norbert Hauser, former interim Inspector General and member of the Global Fund’s High-Level Panel, was appointed as Board Chair and Aida Kurtovic, former Board member for the Eastern Europe and Central Asia constituency and member of the Strategy, Investment and Impact Committee (SIIC), was appointed as Vice Chair. PSD members welcomed the new Board leadership, who will shepherd the Fund during a critical period that will include the development of a new organizational strategy, the launch of the 5th Replenishment Period to renew donor commitments to the Fund, and the beginning of the second funding cycle since the redesign of the Fund’s grant-making approach.

The meeting marked the end of the terms of outgoing Chair Minister Nafsiah Mboi of Indonesia and outgoing Vice Chair Ambassador Mireille Guigaz of France. At the close of the meeting, the Board unanimously adopted a decision formally recognizing the outgoing leadership for their service to the Fund and appointing them Chair emeritus and Vice Chair emeritus, respectively.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: DEVELOPMENT OF THE 2017-2021 GLOBAL FUND STRATEGY

The Global Fund will adopt a new strategy for the 2017-2021 time period early next year. During the 33rd Board meeting, the PSD participated in strategic dialogues with other Board members to begin developing inputs into the next strategy. Recurrent themes identified in Board discussions – such as health systems strengthening, financial and programmatic sustainability, differentiation in the Global Fund’s approach to different country contexts, and human rights, key populations and gender – provide an initial indication of key issues that the Board will aim to address in building the new strategy.

The Board also reviewed the proposed timeline and milestone engagements for ensuring broad consultation with global stakeholders during the strategic development process. The Fund will host three in-person meetings each aiming to bring together over 100 stakeholders from different regions around the world. The first event, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, took place on May 7-8, and two additional meetings are planned for Bangkok, Thailand on June 24-25 and for Panama City, Panama on September 2-3. The Fund also launched an electronic survey platform in late April to capture virtual inputs through late June (available here).

These in-person and electronic dialogues will be supplemented by a number of reviews and work streams to develop reports and recommendations for Board consideration. Over the coming year, the Global Fund will conduct expert meetings on gender, human rights and key populations, co-convene a joint initiative of multilateral and development partners focusing on building more nuanced country income classification systems, and receive the results of an independent review of progress against the existing strategic framework and results since the Fund’s inception.

Discussions within the PSD also focused on the need to ensure robust engagement with a diverse cross-section of global private sector partners during the strategy development process. For more information on upcoming strategic consultation opportunities specifically targeting the private sector, see here.

ADDITIONAL BOARD DECISIONS

  • Policy on Financing Co-Infections and Co-Morbidities: The Board approved the creation of a framework that will provide enhanced guidance to countries seeking Global Fund funding for co-infections and co-morbidities related to AIDS, TB and malaria. Countries may receive funding for co-infections from their existing allocations, provided such funding does not jeopardize the ability to fund core HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria services and that requests are evidence-based and aligned with national policies, programs and delivery platforms.
  • Performance Targets: The Board approved annual results for 2014 under the existing Corporate Key Performance Indicator Framework and endorsed new targets for 2015 and 2016. The results indicated progress on a majority of KPIs, with the exception that actual 2014 grant expenses were below forecasts and that several cumulative measures for quality and coverage of services for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria seemed to be tracking behind five-year goals, leaving the Fund with critical ground to make up in the next two years.
  • Ethics Function and Governance Code of Conduct: As part of an ongoing initiative to incorporate ethics into the Global Fund’s operations, the Board approved a new Code of Conduct for Board members, committees and constituencies, and endorsed principles for a soon-to-be-created position of Ethics Officer. Terms of Reference for the role will be further developed by the Audit and Ethics Committee, Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and Board constituencies for final approval in June 2015. The new Ethics Officer will be housed in the OIG and will provide advice and support to the Executive Director and Board on issues related to Secretariat activities, in-country operations, and governance.
  • 2014 Financial Statements: The Fund’s external auditor, Ernst and Young, issued an unqualified audit opinion for the 2014 consolidated financial statements and statutory statements. The auditors described the financial closure process for 2014 as robust and an improvement over prior years and noted that all nine management issues identified in the prior audit were cleared in 2014.

HEALTH SYSTEMS STRENGTHENING AND THE ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR.

The Private Sector Delegation hosted a side forum during the 33rd Global Fund Board meeting on March 30 in Geneva drawing attention to the role of the private sector in strengthening health systems. Read more about the event here.

Nisa PatelNew Board Leadership, Strategy Discussions Take Center Stage at Global Fund 33rd Board Meeting