Office of the Inspector General

Burkina Faso case

Challenging Operating Environment - Policy Implementation

Burkina Faso case

26 May 2023

The OIG annual audit plan for 2022 included an audit of the Global Fund grants in Burkina Faso. The OIG was unable to carry out the audit due to two consecutive coups d’état in 2022. Burkina Faso faces security challenges in eight out of 13 regions that impact 41% of its health facilities in these regions, which are closed, ransacked, or functioning at minimum.  This affects the ability of in-country implementers and the Global Fund’s assurance providers to move within the country. Given the constraints caused by insecurity, the audit team was unable to travel to Burkina Faso and the audit’s overall objectives were modified to evaluate the design and effectiveness of the Global Fund’s Challenging Operating Environment (COE) policy for increasingly insecure contexts. More specifically, the audit assessed the process of declaring Burkina Faso a COE in March and evaluated how this affected the management of its portfolio and the COE policy’s adequacy in regulating management of portfolios characterized by elevated insecurity and volatile contexts.

In its evaluation, the audit also considered whether to include in its assessment other countries declared as COE or characterized by similarly volatile contexts.

In April 2016, the Global Fund Board approved the COE policy to improve effectiveness of activities in insecure and volatile contexts based on principles of flexibility, partnerships, and innovation, noting historically weaker performance in these countries. In 2017, the Global Fund Secretariat issued an Operational Policy Note (OPN) to provide guidance for Country Teams to manage COE portfolios according to the Board-approved COE policy.

Although the Secretariat has made several changes to the tools and methodology over time, the OPN has not been updated to reflect current practices and emergency contexts. For instance, the decision-making processes and authority to not classify countries as COE is unclear and requires updating to be effective.  Key documents that should guide Country Teams in managing a COE portfolio are no longer used and have been replaced by a different mechanism. However, this mechanism does not include several significant components of portfolio analysis and operation strategy that support the effective and timely management of a rapidly changing context, as well as ensure consistent senior-level endorsement. A review of the COE OPN, initiated by the Secretariat in 2022 prior to the audit, has not yet been completed. The COE OPN’s adequacy in regulating management of COE portfolios is partially effective.

In April 2021, the External Risk Index (ERI) for Burkina Faso was adjusted from High to Very High due to the evolving security situation. However, a management decision was taken not to classify it as COE, despite meeting the OPN’s criteria for doing so. The criteria for decision-making processes and the authority not to classify a Very High ERI country as COE is unclear and requires updating to be effective. The Secretariat classified Burkina Faso as a COE in March 2022 in response to the sharp rise in physical and political insecurity in the country. The COE classification was communicated to the country in November 2022, together with the flexibilities granted. The Secretariat took several actions to enhance and update the management of the portfolio both before and after the classification as COE. The process of declaring Burkina Faso COE in 2022 and its effect on the management of its portfolio is therefore rated partially effective.

  • Challenging Operating Environment - Policy Implementation (GF-OIG-23-013 - 26 May 2023)
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