On 16-17 November 2015, the Global Fund Board held its 34th meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. GFO was present, with observer status. The main decisions made at the meeting, in chronological order, were as follows. (For precise wording of what the Board agreed, see the decision points document that is available at www.theglobalfund.org/en/board/meetings/34. Background documentation will also, in time, be posted by the Global Fund at the same location.)
Strategic Review 2015. The Board “acknowledged the results and recommendations” of the Strategic Review 2015 commissioned by the Technical Evaluation Reference Group; asked the Secretariat to provide the Strategy, Investment and Impact Committee with its response to the TERG’s recommendations; and asked the Secretariat to consider the recommendations as it prepares the final 2017-2022 Strategy narrative. [See Decision Point 3.] Further details are provided in a separate article in this issue.
Strategic Framework. The Board approved the framework for the 2017-2022 Strategy. The Board will approve the Strategy itself at its first meeting in 2016. [See Decision Point 4.] Further details are provided in a separate article in this issue.
2016 Operating Expenses and Corporate Workplan. The Board approved a 2016 operating expenses budget of $305 million for the Secretariat and the Office of the Inspector General. The Board also approved a 2016 corporate work plan and budget narrative covering the Secretariat. [See Decision Point 5.] Further details are provided in a separate article in this issue.
Replenishment. As an expression of its strong commitment to the 2017-2019 replenishment, the Board decided that it will explore options to enhance its active engagement in contributing towards a successful outcome, including the broadening of the donor base. In addition, the Board decided that it will seek the support of one or more high-level individuals who will advocate on its behalf for a successful replenishment. [See Decision Point 6.]
Enhanced Governance Structure. The Board approved in principle changes to its committee structure. If the changes are confirmed, they will take effect at the end of first Board meeting in 2016. [See Decision Point 7.] Further details are provided in a separate article in this issue.
Market Shaping Strategy. The Board approved a new market-shaping strategy which replaces the strategy adopted in 2011. The strategy includes a section on preparing for when countries transition away from Fund support. The strategy states that the Global Fund supports efforts to address barriers and practices that prevent access to affordable medicines. Six new full-time-equivalent positions will be included in the operating budget to manage the strategy. [See Decision Point 9.]
The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria approved a new framework for its 2017-2022 strategy to maximize impact, strengthen systems for health, promote and protect human rights and gender equality, and mobilize additional resources.
At a two-day Board meeting, partners agreed to prioritize efforts that reach more people and achieve greater impact through innovative approaches that meet diverse country needs. The Global Fund invests nearly US$4 billion each year in programs in communities and countries all over the world to accelerate the end of HIV, TB and malaria as epidemics.
The strategic framework sets the structure for a multiyear strategy with a fuller narrative that is expected to be finalized in 2016. Several Board members commented on the extensive consultations and broad engagement in the year-long process in devising the strategic framework, intended to capture feedback from across the Global Fund partnership. Hundreds of partners participated in strategy discussions at Partnership Forums that were convened in Addis Ababa, Bangkok and Buenos Aires, and contributed through an e-Forum that collected views from all over the world.
"The strategic framework shows considerable progress on human rights, as well as the commitment of the Global Fund to demonstrate investments in women and girls," said Rico Gustav, Alternate Board member of the Communities Delegation. "Looking forward, we need an allocation methodology aligned with the strategic framework for the impacts to translate into saving lives."
At the Board meeting, led by Board Chair Norbert Hauser and Vice Chair Aida Kurtovic, members also voted to approve an operating budget and corporate work plan for 2016.
The new strategic framework is fully aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals embraced by member states of the United Nations in September 2015, with a holistic and multidisciplinary approach that seeks to reach those most in need, reduce inequalities, and support sustainable transition across the development continuum as countries move toward self-sustainability.
The new strategic framework underlines Global Fund commitment to contribute to building resilient and sustainable systems for health together with robust national strategies for health and with national disease-specific strategic plans in each country.
Several Board members spoke about the importance of strengthening data systems, and using existing data more effectively. The strategic framework also includes the need to expand steps to strengthen global and in-country procurement and supply chain systems.
At the Board meeting, there was broad consensus on the need to expand programs that reduce human rights barriers to health, while also continuing to integrate human rights concerns into the grant cycle and policies.
The Board provided guidance to further refine the allocation model to effectively deliver on the strategy of increasing impact on countries with the highest burden of disease and least ability to pay, and for key and vulnerable populations who are disproportionately affected by the three diseases.
In considering potential refinements, the Board considered extensive reports by the Technical Review Panel and the Technical Evaluation Research Group, and an in-depth review of the Board's 2012-2016 strategy which concluded that the new funding model implemented in 2014 is delivering significant results.