02 February 2021
GENEVA – More than 300 representatives from across the world convened virtually today to kick off the Partnership Forums, a series of consultations to help shape the next multi-year Global Fund strategy. The Partnership Forums are unique in the global health sector, providing a broad and inclusive platform for representatives from all Global Fund implementers, partners and people affected by diseases to discuss the organization’s future strategic direction.
Key areas of focus include how the Global Fund can strengthen its impact and contribution to the ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goal targets for HIV, TB, malaria, build strong community and health systems, increase focus on equity, human rights, gender and the most vulnerable, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic which threatens to reverse the health gains of the last two decades.
Participants in the Partnership Forums are drawn from a wide range of stakeholders that make up the Global Fund partnership, from government to civil society representatives to members of the affected communities to technical partners. As representatives of the Global Fund partnership, this diverse group of participants will help shape the direction of Global Fund investments in the years ahead.
Due to the pandemic, the Partnership Forums will convene virtually. They started today with a joint global opening session, which will be followed by three regional meetings: Eastern Europe and Latin America, 9-11 February; Africa and parts of the Middle East, 17-19 February; and Asia, the Pacific and parts of the Middle East, 3-5 March. The closing session will take place 15 March, bringing together participants from across the world to wrap up the discussions.
Twenty years after its creation in 2002, the Global Fund partnership has achieved remarkable progress. At the end of 2019, the partnership had saved 38 million lives, including six million in 2019 alone. However, with less than 10 years until the Sustainable Development Goals deadline, the world is off track to reach the global targets for HIV, TB and malaria and the COVID-19 pandemic is threating to further derail progress. Participants in the Partnership Forums will engage in discussions on ways for the Global Fund to catalyze greater progress against HIV, TB and malaria in partnership with governments, communities, civil society, technical partners and other stakeholders and put the world back on track to end these diseases.
“We face the sobering prospect that if we don’t mount an effective response to the pandemic, we could find ourselves losing maybe a decade’s worth of gains in terms of reduced deaths and infections,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “The stakes are extremely high, so we must work together to devise a strategy to safeguard and accelerate the gains we have made against the diseases while building resilient health systems that can respond effectively to both the current and future pandemics. The Forums are an opportunity to listen and to learn from all corners of our partnership.”
“Welcoming diversity of opinion is an essential element of strengthening the Global Fund and growing our impact, it is why we value the Partnership Forums,” said Dr. Donald Kaberuka, Chair of the Global Fund Board. “We want to hear what we should keep doing, what we can improve on and what we should let go. We want to hear all opinions on choices and trade-offs. Every voice matters. Developing our next strategy is not just about the Global Fund, but about all of us – our countries, our communities, and the people we serve.”
Views shared in the Partnership Forums will add to perspectives received through the strategy development process to date, including the input gathered through the Global Fund’s 2020 Open Consultation on strategy development, which engaged more than 300 individuals and groups from different regions and backgrounds. The views collated from participants will be channeled into the strategy development process, which will culminate into a new multi-year strategy document that will be finalized in November 2021.
The current “Global Fund Strategy 2017-2022: Investing to End Epidemics” was developed through a similar participatory process. With the new strategy, the Global Fund will be looking to the future, asking how the partnership can reinforce its unique country-driven and inclusive model, grow its impact against infectious diseases, and strengthen health systems and building global health security for all people.