19 September 2011
Geneva: An independent panel of distinguished individuals commissioned by the Global Fund to review its financial controls has recommended major changes in the way the Global Fund does its business and manages its grants.
The panel, co-chaired by former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt and former President of Botswana Festus Mogae, submitted its report to the Global Fund’s Board today after six months of examining Global Fund procedures and grants in recipient countries.
The Panel finds that the Global Fund needs to focus much more on its core business of managing grants to save and protect lives. It recommends improving financial and Board oversight, simplifying grant application processes, and putting in place a robust risk management framework.
The Global Fund welcomes the findings and recommendations: “The panel’s report provides a great opportunity to sharpen the focus of the Global Fund and make it fit for the future,” said Simon Bland, Chair of the Global Fund’s Board. “We commissioned the panel to give us an honest, hard look at the institution from the outside and that is exactly what we have got. The panel’s findings will play a central role in accelerating reform. As an organization we are totally committed to making the necessary changes to strengthen oversight, improve impact, value for money and sustainability.”
The Global Fund’s Board will come together for a special meeting on 26 September in Geneva to consider the report’s findings and prepare an action plan and will meet again in November for its regular meeting to consider larger changes to the organization’s governance structure, strategy and work processes.
The report points out that the Global Fund has played a key role in saving millions of lives in the fight against the three diseases. However, it should now quickly transition from an organization responding to an emergency to a financing institution that is geared towards a sustainable response to the demands for health investments by providing maximum accountability, comprehensive risk management, efficiency and value for money.
“I have seen in Lesotho, as has been the case in a number of countries, that not only has despair turned to hope but that hundreds of thousands of children have been born free from HIV, and millions of people are alive to bring up their children,” says Dr Mphu Ramatlapeng, Minister of Health and Social Welfare of Lesotho and Vice Chair of the Global Fund Board. “The Global Fund is vital to the continued fight against these diseases.”
“The Global Fund greatly appreciates the hard work of the Panel,” added Mr Bland. “It has analyzed mountains of documents, conducted hundreds of interviews and travelled to 13 countries in a very short time. We are most grateful for their effort.”
In addition to Governor Leavitt and President Mogae the Panel consisted of Zeinab Bashir El Bakri, Director, Office of His Highness the Prime Minister of Kuwait and former Vice-President Sector Operations of the African Development Bank; Norbert Hauser, Germany’s former Vice-President of the Federal Court of Audit; Gabriel Jaramillo, Chairman of the Sovereign Bank Board and Special Advisor at the United Nations Secretary-General Office of the Special Envoy for Malaria; The Honorable Barry O’Keefe, Consultant, Clayton UTZ Sydney and former Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales (Australia); and Claude Rubinowicz, Chief Executive for France’s Agence du patrimoine immatériel de l’État (APIE, Agency for Public Intangibles of France) and former Inspecteur Général des Finances.