Global Fund Observer

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The Global Fund Board held its 40th Board meeting on 14-15 November, at the Global Fund’s new offices at the Global Health Campus, in Geneva, Switzerland. This article provides a summary of the main decisions made by the Global Fund Board at this meeting, of recent decisions taken through electronic voting prior to the meeting, and notes a few of the other topics that were discussed at the meeting and during the pre-Board day.


In his first report as Executive Director to the Global Fund Board, eight months after assuming his new role, Peter Sands outlined progress made in the fight against the diseases, how the Fund has executed against its own strategic priorities, his view of transformation towards greater efficiency and effectiveness, and his vision of the Global Fund’s role as a partner, catalyst and influencer, especially with regard to SDG 3.


The resource mobilization and replenishment update to the Board at the Global Fund’s 40th Board meeting emphasized the Fund’s focus on the success of the Sixth Replenishment, and described the Fund’s overall approach to preparing for it. New head of External Relations Francoise Vanni presented the update. 


The Global Fund’s 40th Board meeting dedicated a session to allocation methodology, following Strategy Committee discussions on the allocation methodology for 2020–2022. The Board is expected to approve the methodology at its meeting in May 2019. The committee says that no significant changes are expected compared to the methodology used for the 2017–2019 allocations period, but that some refinements are likely. The committee also discussed catalytic investments.


In its first performance report combining key performance indicators and strategy implementation reporting, the Global Fund has reported several items of good news to the 40th Board: 101% of the target for the Fifth Replenishment has been pledged and the Secretariat is forecasting that all pledges will be fulfilled; investments are better aligned to needs and national strategic plans; and country programs have increased funds absorption and provided better disaggregated data. However, enduring problems remain in service delivery and coverage of key populations.


The $302 million budget which the Board has just approved for 2019 operating expenses at its 40th Board meeting allows the Global Fund to meet its commitment to stay within a budget ceiling of $900 million for the three-year period 2017–2019. The Board also approved a 2019 Corporate Work Plan and Budget Narrative. 


In a progress report provided to the Board at its 40th Board meeting, the Office of the Inspector General states that on the basis of its work to date in 2018, the Global Fund partnership has achieved substantial results across all three diseases. Enhancement of financial controls has significantly contributed to a decrease in large cases of fraud and unsupported transactions, the OIG added. However, the Fund still faces a number of challenges, including finding missing cases of TB, improving the quality of services and managing the process of countries transitioning away from Fund support.


The Ethics and Governance Committee (EGC) is coordinating consultations on the processes for selecting the members and leaders of Board committees, according to a paper prepared for the 40th Board meeting, just concluded in Geneva. The consultations will also cover the size of the EGC. The EGC will prepare recommendations in time for the Board meeting scheduled for May 2019.