21 November 2014
MONTREUX, Switzerland – The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria convened a week-long gathering including a retreat on strategy, governance and ethics, followed by extensive constituency meetings and a formal meeting attended by 20 Board members and nearly 200 delegates and observers from all over the world.
The Board meets twice a year to exercise its responsibility of monitoring and oversight, and to make decisions that guide nearly US$4 billion of funding each year for programs in more than 140 countries that are accelerating the end of HIV, TB and malaria as epidemics.
At the meeting, Board members consistently stressed the importance of focusing on gender, human rights and strengthening health and community systems – each of them critical factors in achieving impact against HIV, TB and malaria. Board members also cited the Ebola outbreak as an instance of global concern where joint action by partners and health systems strengthening is essential.
This year, the Global Fund began full implementation of a new funding model that is designed to better serve people affected by HIV, TB and malaria by improving the process of devising grants with flexible timing, better alignment with national strategies and active engagement with implementers and partners.
The Board reviewed several aspects of the new approach to funding. More than 100 concept notes have already been submitted for the 2014-2016 allocation period. Many eligible countries are still developing concept notes and expect to submit them in the coming months.
The Board was informed that 77 percent of applicants agree that the new funding model is an improvement over the previous, rounds-based system. In addition, 85 percent agree that country dialogue is an open and inclusive process in most countries, while 90 percent of applicants agreed that there was positive involvement of Global Fund country teams.
The Board also considered challenges, such as the need for differentiated approaches in countries with challenging operating environments, the need for increased flexibility in the classification of countries by income level, and the need to better handle continuity of services in some countries.
The Global Fund’s Technical Review Panel, which consists of independent experts who consider strengths and weaknesses in all funding applications, praised many aspects of the new funding model. The panel also cited difficulties and areas that may need to be revisited in the future and stressed the broad need to prioritize efforts for impact, noting significant progress while pointing out how much more needs to be done.
The Board approved a work plan and an operating expenses budget for 2015. It voted to take steps toward developing a new strategy for 2017-2021 and approved decisions on governance reform, on communicating recoveries and on privileges and immunities. The Board also approved decisions on new procedures to incentivize private sector contributions, on market dynamics oversight, and on the first stage of an Ethics and Integrity Framework.
Board members cited appreciation for the Global Fund’s swift use of a new emergency fund to provide US$1.6 million to support a mass distribution of mosquito nets in Liberia, where efforts to control malaria have been affected by the Ebola outbreak.