Key decisions made by the Global Fund Board at the meeting that ended on Friday were as follows.
- Approval of Round 6 Grants: The Board approved 85 Round 6 grants that will cost $846 million over the first two years and $2,519 m. over five years. As a result of recent new pledges, plus contributions from UNITAID, the Board concluded that the Fund has sufficient money to pay for all grants that were recommended by the Technical Review Panel. [For details, see GFO Issue 67, dated 4 November 2007.]
- Recruitment of Executive Director: After failing to agree on a new Executive Director, the Board set up a new Nomination Committee and agreed to choose the Executive Director at a special board meeting to take place by mid-February. [For details, see the first article in this issue of GFO.]
- Rounds 7 and 8: The Board decided that the Call for Proposals for Round 7 (in which the proposal form and guidelines and the expected fund availability will be published) will take place by 1 March 2007, with proposals to be submitted by early July 2007 and Board approval in mid-November 2007. Round 8 will be one year later - Call for Proposals by 1 March 2008, proposals to be submitted by early July 2008, and Board approval in mid-November 2008. The early announcement of these dates is intended to encourage applicants to start much earlier with planning and development of their proposals. Future Rounds are expected to continue on a similar annual cycle.
- Rolling Continuation Channel: The Board approved the establishment of a method (known as a "rolling continuation channel") that, from March 2007, will sometimes permit a CCM to apply for up to six years of further funding for a grant that is approaching the end of Phase 2. The Fund will consider such applications about four times per year. Grants will only be eligible for consideration if the Secretariat determines that they have been performing very well, are expected to have measurable impact, and are receiving significant support from other funding sources. Only 25% to 33% of grants are expected to meet this eligibility standard, and if they do, the continuation requests will still have to be approved by the TRP and the Board.
- Continuity of Services: The Board made some modifications to its "Continuity of Services" policy, which ensures the provision of up to two years-worth of continued funding of treatment-based services for people who have already been placed on treatment through grants that will shortly be ending.
- Grant Consolidation Pilot Project: The Board agreed that the Secretariat should conduct a pilot project in a few countries in which, when the CCM and Principal Recipient agree, two or more grants to the same PR can be consolidated into one grant, with no reduction in grant value but with simplified administration as a result of the reduced number of targets, reports, disbursements, Phase 2 decision dates, etc.
- UNITAID Support: The Board welcomed the contribution by UNITAID of $52.5 million towards the cost of those Round 6 grants that will increase the number of patients on treatment, plus $9.05 m. towards the cost of grants that scale up the provision of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), plus $7.9 m. towards the cost of grants that scale up the provision of MDR-TB treatment. (UNITAID is the new International Drug Purchase Facility that has been established by Brazil, France, Chile, Norway and the United Kingdom and that generates money through an airline ticket levy.)
- Resource Mobilization Task Team: The Board approved the setting up of a Resource Mobilization Task Team, to consist of a mix of Global Fund board members and outside experts. By mid-February 2007, the task team will produce recommendations regarding how the Fund can raise the increased amounts of money that are going to be needed over the next few years.
- In-Kind Donations: The Board agreed to set up a Joint Steering Group on Product and Service Donations (dealing with what is also known as in-kind donations, a sensitive issue regarding which the Board failed to reach agreement in June 2004). The steering group will consist primarily of Global Fund board members, but will be backed by a technical working group consisting of outside experts from all sectors. The steering group will produce a report and recommendations by October 2007.
- Eligibility of Upper-Middle Income Countries: The Board asked its Portfolio Committee to recommend, by early February 2007, whether the Fund should modify its current restrictions regarding grant applications by upper-middle income countries. This will permit the Board to make an email-based decision on this matter prior to Round 7.
- Administrative Services Agreement with WHO: The Board agreed to start preparing for a likely termination of the Fund's Administrative Services Agreement with WHO, prior to making a firm decision at its April 2007 meeting on whether to implement termination. (Under the Agreement, WHO is responsible for certain aspects of Global Fund administration. If the Agreement is terminated, new procedures will be put in place that the Fund controls more directly.)
- 2007 Budget: The Board approved a 2007 Operating Expense Budget in the amount of just under $105 million.
- Partnership Forum: The Board agreed to hold the Third Partnership Forum in 2008.
- Five-Year Evaluation: The Board agreed that the Fund's Technical Evaluation Reference Group (TERG) will conduct a five-year evaluation of the Fund.
- Second Replenishment: The Board agreed that the second Voluntary Replenishment of the Fund will consist of meetings in March and September 2007, in Norway and Germany respectively, at which donors will discuss their likely commitments to the Fund for the years 2008-2010.
- Global Fund Staffing: The Board asked the Executive Director to initiate an external evaluation of the size and structure of the Fund's staffing.
The precise wording of the Board decisions, and extensive background documentation, will shortly be available at www.theglobalfund.org/en/about/board/fourteenth.