23 Aug 2011

Having both the principal recipients (PRs) and local fund agents (LFAs) report directly to the Global Fund Secretariat and, in the process, bypassing country coordinating mechanisms (CCMs) has usurped the CCM's oversight role.

This was the view expressed by several CCM members attending the Global Fund's first regional workshop for CCMs in the East African and Indian Ocean Islands (EAIO) region. The workshop, held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 5-7 July 2011, was aimed at enhancing the capacity of EAIO CCMs in order to achieve what the Secretariat referred to as "the right impact."

The issue of reporting relationships was raised on the first day of the workshop. Questions such as the following were posed to the Secretariat team participating in the workshop:

  • "Why does the Fund encourage PRs to report directly to the Secretariat and vice versa, without going through CCMs and then turn around and say the CCM is not doing its job when things go wrong?"
  • "Why is the LFA allowed to report information directly to the Secretariat without copying the CCMs, even when this is information the CCMs should know and, in some instances, act on?"

The Secretariat team responded to these questions by acknowledging that there is a disconnect between CCM oversight and PR oversight, and that this may be caused by the reporting relationships. However, the Secretariat encouraged CCMs to be proactive. "You select the PRs and they are answerable to you," the team said. The team also stressed the importance of CCMs enforcing their right to information on grant performance from PRs at all stages of grant implementation.

David Winters, the Secretariat's CCM Manager, said that as a donor, the Global Fund requires PRs, as fund recipients, to submit reports on grant performance. However, he said, these reports as well as all communications between PRs and the Secretariat should be copied to the CCMs. If this is not happening, Winters said, then the CCMs should find out why.

A fair amount of time at the workshop was spent discussing areas where the Global Fund Secretariat said that EAIO CCMs needed to improve performance areas such as country ownership; ensuring that the money received is used for its intended purpose; transparency; accountability and multi-stakeholder participation.

The Secretariat team also stressed the importance of ensuring that all constituencies (as outlined in the CCM Guidelines document) have adequate representation on the CCMs. The team expressed concern about under-representation on some CCMs of (a) people living with the three diseases and (b) women. The Secretariat added that women were frequently under-represented in CCM leadership positions (e.g., chairs and vice-chairs).

Other concerns raised by the Secretariat team were as follows:

  • conflict of interest, particularly with respect to decisions by the CCM to (perennially) use the same PRs and SRs;
  • under-utilisation of the funds available from the Global Fund to support CCM operations; and
  • the need to involve more non-CCM members such as watchdog organisations and advocacy groups to help monitor grant implementation.

According to the Global Fund, the EAIO region has received about 20% of all the Fund's disbursements, making it the largest of the Fund's eight regions.

This first CCM workshop for the EAIO region was well attended, with a total of 115 participants. All twelve CCMs (Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zanzibar) were represented. Others in attendance included representatives of bilateral and multilateral technical partners, such as UNAIDS and Roll Back Malaria. About 20 Global Fund Secretariat staff were present, including many fund portfolio managers.

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