News Releases

Global Fund Selects Roslyn Morauta as Board Chair and Bience Gawanas as Vice-Chair

21 April 2023

GENEVA – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced its Board has selected Lady Roslyn Morauta as Chair and Bience Gawanas as Vice-Chair, bringing two women with an exceptional level of leadership and international expertise to the governance of the Global Fund.

Lady Morauta has deep experience with the Global Fund for many years and from multiple facets: In addition to serving as Vice-Chair of the Board for the last four years, she has also represented the Western Pacific Region constituency as Alternate Board Member and served as Chair of the Papua New Guinea Country Coordinating Mechanism. She has been a long-standing and steadfast champion of health, HIV programs and gender issues.

“The Global Fund has an exceptional governance model in that affected communities sit at the Board table alongside governments, private sector, civil society and other stakeholders. It ensures we make the best choices for those affected by the diseases we are trying to end,” said Lady Roslyn Morauta, newly selected Chair of the Global Fund Board. “It has been a privilege and a pleasure to represent the Global Fund as Vice-Chair since 2019, and I am deeply grateful for the trust placed in me to continue my service now as Board Chair.”

Lady Morauta is a long-standing champion of good governance and health, especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria. She is a relentless advocate of the Global Fund’s core values, especially on gender equality and human rights, and works closely with civil society organizations. As Vice-Chair of the Board, she prioritized high governance standards and inclusivity for all Board members, including the voice of communities affected by the disease.

Bience Gawanas is an experienced political and development policy leader. Her career includes prominent international and domestic positions, including serving as the African Union’s first Commissioner for Social Affairs and United Nations Under-Secretary General and Special Advisor for Africa. She has a long track record of championing both global public health causes and the rights of marginalized populations and civil society, combined with substantial experience in complex governance environments.  

“The Global Fund is an extraordinary partnership, which has saved 50 million people over the last two decades and has made a tremendous difference to humanity,” said Bience Gawanas, newly selected Vice-Chair of the Global Fund Board. “I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of this fight to ensure everyone, everywhere has the right to access the healthcare they need.”

Ms. Gawanas is known as a “bridgebuilder” and connector in institutions. She has more than 30 years’ experience devoted to social justice, gender equality, women’s empowerment, human rights and good governance. The New African Publication named her one of the 100 most influential Africans.

On 11 May, at the end of the 49th Global Fund Board Meeting in Viet Nam, Dr. Donald Kaberuka will conclude his term as Board Chair, and Lady Morauta and Ms. Gawanas will begin their three-year terms as Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively.

Dr. Kaberuka and Lady Morauta were selected as Board Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, in 2019 for a two-year term, which was extended for a year in 2021 and for another year in 2022. The Board leadership term has now been extended to three years.

“It has been a tremendous opportunity to serve as Board Chair through some of the most challenging times in our efforts to end AIDS, TB and malaria as public health threats,” said Dr. Donald Kaberuka, outgoing Global Fund Board Chair. “There are very difficult days ahead. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, a changing climate, rising costs and the growing number of conflicts will make this work more complex than ever before. But the strength and determination of the Global Fund partnership is unparalleled, and under the leadership of Lady Roslyn and Bience, I am confident they will succeed.”

Lady Morauta and Ms. Gawanas were selected by the Global Fund Board following a competency-based selection process that was designed to identify the best leadership pair for the Global Fund. The process was led by a Nomination Committee appointed by the Board, and the full Board finalized its vote to approve the new Chair and Vice-Chair on 20 April 2023.

Biography, incoming Chair 

Lady Roslyn Morauta took office as Vice-Chair of the Global Fund Board in May 2019.

She has lived and worked in Papua New Guinea since 1982. Prior to that, she worked in publishing in the UK, taught politics at universities in Ghana and Australia, and was an Australian public servant.

In Papua New Guinea she has worked for the National Planning Office and the Department of Finance and Treasury (through the United Nations Development Programme), undertaken consultancy management with Coopers & Lybrand, and now acts as manager of Morauta family business interests.

As First Lady of Papua New Guinea from 1999-2002, she championed issues on health, HIV, and gender, and has continued this work since.

Lady Morauta has a long association with the Global Fund, having previously served as the Alternate Board Member for the Western Pacific Region constituency and as Chair of the Papua New Guinea Country Coordinating Mechanism. Her role in the Country Coordinating Mechanism has given her a close understanding of Global Fund strategies and processes, the working of the Secretariat, and the practical implementation of grants at country level.

She also serves on the boards of Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA), Anglicare (PNG), and Pacific Friends of Global Health. Other board and committee memberships have included the PNG National AIDS Council, the Asia-Pacific Leadership Forum on HIV/AIDS and the PNG Alliance of Civil Society Organizations Against HIV/AIDS.

Biography, incoming Vice-Chair

Bience Gawanas’ career spans a broad range of senior leadership positions in Namibia, Africa and internationally.

A lawyer by training, she served as a Public Service Commissioner and was the first Ombudswoman for Namibia post-independence and was subsequently appointed by the African Union’s Assembly of Heads of State and Government as the first Commissioner for Social Affairs. Following her service as Special Advisor to the Namibian Minister of Health and Social Services, as well as the Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, she most recently served as the United Nations Under-Secretary General and Special Advisor for Africa.

Bience Gawanas has been invited to serve on several public and private boards, taskforces, and commissions, including as a Member of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board. She is also currently a Member of the IPPF Board of Trustees and its Chairperson for the Board Sub-Committee on anti-racism as well as a board member of the European Centre for Development and Policy Management (ECDPM).

Throughout her career, Bience Gawanas has championed the rights of marginalized populations and has been a strong advocate for social justice and global public health, including the rights of women and children. Amongst other honors, she has been named amongst the 100 most influential Africans by the New African Publication and received the IPPF award for most outstanding contribution on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Bience Gawanas holds an LLB Honours degree from the University of Warwick and an Utter Barrister degree from the Council of Legal Education School of Law/Lincoln’s Inn, UK. She also holds an Executive MBA from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and an honorary Doctorate degree in law from the University of Western Cape. She was called to the English Bar and also admitted to the High Court of Namibia.