New Private Sector Opportunities Approved, Governance Reforms Launched at Global Fund 32nd Board Meeting

Nisa PatelArticle, Newsletter

November 18 – 21, 2014 | Montreux, Switzerland

The Global Fund Board met for its 32nd Board meeting in Montreux, Switzerland from November 18-21.  Over the course of the meetings, the Board approved major decisions including:

  • amendments allowing the private sector to make restricted financial contributions against unfunded portions of approved country grant requests
  • reforms to enhance Board and committee oversight of market-shaping activities and interventions
  • new policies and a differentiated approach to organizational risk management
  • an interim approach to funding treatment for HIV/Hepatitis C co-infection and the launch of a comprehensive review of co-infections and co-mortalities with the three diseases
  • the formation of a Transitional Governance Committee to oversee the implementation of governance reforms related to a new oversight structure to be instituted in 2016

PSD Board Member Paul Schaper served as Rapporteur for the meeting.

Prior to the Board meeting, Board members convened for a two-day Retreat to discuss issues related to Global Fund strategy, ethics and governance, including the findings of the Board-established Working Group on Governance. The Retreat marked the first major deliberation by the full Board in preparation for the development of the Global Fund 2017-2021 Strategy, expected for approval by early 2016. The Private Sector was represented at the Retreat by Paul Schaper (Board Member) and Whitney White (Focal Point, standing in for Alternate Renuka Gadde).

The PSD held its semi-annual pre-Board meeting on November 18th to review and propose positions on upcoming Board decisions. Representatives from Abt Associates, BD, Eli Lilly, Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Mylan, Novartis, Sanofi and TropMed Pharma Consulting attended.  On November 19th, PSD members attended Global Fund briefing sessions and met with other Board constituencies, including government donors, civil society organizations and private foundations. Read more about key Board decisions taken below.

Amended Policy on “Earmarked” Contributions: The PSD welcomed the Board’s decision to revise the policy on restricted financial contributions, opening up new opportunities for private sector companies, individuals, and other non-traditional donors to provide incremental funding to country programs through the register of unfunded quality demand (UQD). Under the revised funding model launched in March 2014, the Global Fund maintains a list of country funding requests (known as the UQD register) that were determined to be sound investments but for which sufficient funding was not available at the time of grant approval. With this decision, private sector and other non-traditional donors can now make restricted financial contributions to specific countries or disease programs that will be applied to the UQD register, allowing countries to implement previously unfunded interventions and activities.

In order to have interventions added to the UQD register, countries must first include requests above and beyond their indicative envelopes in their concept notes, and those concept notes must be approved. Companies can support countries that have not yet submitted concept notes by participating in the country dialogue process. To learn more about these opportunities and how to get involved, read the Private Sector Guide to the New Funding Model or contact the PSD Focal Point Whitney White at psd@gbchealth.org.

Market shaping oversight: The Board voted to disband the Market Dynamics Advisory Group, formed in 2011 as an advisory body to the Strategy, Investment and Impact Committee (SIIC), and instead assigned greater oversight responsibility for market-shaping and procurement activities to the Board’s standing committees. Under the new arrangement, the SIIC and the Finance and Operational Performance Committee (FOPC) will jointly oversee strategies and operational policies related to market dynamics, providing the Global Fund Board with greater visibility into long- and short-term impacts of the Global Fund’s approaches to market dynamics. Strengthening Board engagement in market dynamics strategies was a PSD priority over the course of 2014, and constituency members were active participants in providing input into the new arrangements through PSD task forces, Committee-level deliberations and collaboration with other Board constituencies.

Governance for Impact Plan: The Board approved a suite of recommendations from the six-month tenure of the Working Group on Governance (WGG) to continue strengthening Global Fund governance. A linchpin of the new governance plan is to reconfigure Board committees by the 2016-2018 committee terms to focus on (1) Strategy and Operations, (2) Finance and Audit and (3) Ethics and Governance. Other components of the plan revised terms of reference for Board leadership to clarify roles and responsibilities, standardized oversight and reporting mechanisms for cross-cutting issues areas like risk and organizational performance, and outlined the need for defined standards and practices such as lifecycle management for governance officials. Both during the Board Retreat and in the lead up to the Board meeting, the Private Sector Delegation had an active voice in advancing amendments and revisions to strengthen key components of the plan before adoption.

The decision also established a Transitional Governance Committee to oversee the evolution to the new committee structure and to fill gaps in the current structure during the interim; members of the new committee were appointed by electronic vote in December 2014 and took up their roles in early 2015.

Ethics and Risk Management: The Global Fund Board took several decisions to strengthen organizational foundations, including approving recommendations from phase one of the Ethics and Integrity Initiative launched in early 2014 and endorsing new policies related to the Global Fund’s approach to risk. Decisions related to ethics included creating a dedicated  Global Fund Ethics Office and mandating the development of a Code of Conduct for Board Members for review at the 33rd meeting. Approval of a high-level Global Fund Risk Management Policy was accompanied by approval of a Risk Differentiation Framework to ensure that risks within the Global Fund portfolio and operations are managed to within Board-defined thresholds. In his comments during Board deliberations, PSD Board Member Schaper emphasized the vast expertise within the private sector on these topics, including among PSD member companies, and encouraged the Global Fund and Board to consider opportunities for cross-sector learning and collaboration.

Role of the Global Fund in Hepatitis C and Other Co-Infections: Several countries recently submitted funding requests that included treatment of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the context of HIV/AIDS co-infection. Although the Global Fund has funded co-infection treatment in limited circumstances in the past, the Board decided that a long-term approach to HIV/HCV co-infection needed to be determined as part of a comprehensive strategy for addressing co-infections and co-morbidities across all three diseases. The Board endorsed an interim approach to ensure continuity of funding for countries currently receiving funding for HCV treatment up to existing amounts and mandated a wider strategic review of co-infections and co-morbidities for presentation to the Board at the 33rd Board meeting in late March 2015.

Read the Global Fund’s coverage of the 32nd Board Meeting here.

Nisa PatelNew Private Sector Opportunities Approved, Governance Reforms Launched at Global Fund 32nd Board Meeting