27 September 2011
Geneva: The Board of the Global Fund has adopted recommendations for major reforms made by an independent panel of distinguished individuals. The decision aims to help the Global Fund evolve from an organization responding to an emergency into an even more effective one delivering a sustainable response.
The panel, which submitted its recommendations last week, was commissioned six months ago by the Global Fund to review its financial controls. Acknowledging weaknesses in the financial oversight of Global Fund grants, the Board is putting in place a comprehensive plan of wide-reaching reforms.
The panel also noted that the Global Fund has played a key role in saving millions of lives in the fight against the three diseases since it was created nearly 10 years ago.
The recommendations, some of which can be implemented immediately, include measures to ensure that the Global Fund focuses on its core business of managing grants to save and protect lives while at the same time mitigating risks effectively.
“We are determined to carry out these changes quickly to ensure that donors and implementing countries maintain absolute confidence that the Global Fund is an efficient and effective funding channel that delivers value for money,” said Simon Bland, the Global Fund’s Chair. “Following the Board meeting we now have a clear way forward to make these changes.”
The Board’s governance is being overhauled to provide comprehensive oversight. Its four standing committees will be reduced to three: one to focus on strategy and investment, a second one to concentrate on finance and operational performance, and a third committee -- with a majority of independent members -- dealing with audits and ethics.
“I am extremely pleased with the resounding endorsement by the Global Fund Board of the panel’s report and recommendations,” said high level panel co-chairman, the former President of Botswana Festus Mogae. “I believe that these far reaching reforms will firmly secure the Global Fund’s future as the leading funding channel to fight the three diseases.”
Former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, who co-chaired the high level panel, also welcomed the board’s decision. "The Board's acceptance of the panel's recommendations is a catalytic event in the history of the Global Fund. Prompt implementation will provide donors with confidence their contributions will fuel a more efficient and sustainable response to HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria," said Leavitt, who is also a former Governor of Utah.
The Board will assess progress and set further milestones for the changes at its next meeting in November.
The Board noted that there are significant uncertainties in the amount of money available for the coming round of grants. In light of this and in order to make a start on implementing reforms recommended by the panel, the Board will examine options for streamlining application, renewal and approval processes for its next funding round. It also extended the application deadline for this round from 15 December 2011 to 1 March 2012.