35th Board meeting: Board Size and Composition

The first substantive agenda item at the 35th Global Fund Board meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire was Board size and composition.

The Board established the Transitional Governance Committee (TGC) in January 2015 with a mandate to focus on the implementation of the recommendations from the Governance Plan for Impact (GPI) developed by the ad hoc Working Group on Governance (WGG).

The TGC was charged with five key responsibilities:

  1. Oversee the key governance functions that were identified in the GPI as missing or not currently being performed under the existing structures
  2. Develop a Performance Assessment Framework and oversee the process of performance assessments of the Board and committees, including assessments of leadership

The Board has approved an Assessment Framework in September 2015, the Coordinating Group has developed a Performance Assessment Action Plan, and the Coordinating Group and the new Ethics and Governance Committee (EGC) will monitor the implementation of the Action Plan.

  1. Finalize the Enhanced Governance Structure for Board approval

The Board has approved three new committees:  the Strategy Committee (SC), the Audit and Finance Committee (AFC), and the EGC, and the new committees will hold their first meetings in June 2016.

  1. Develop the key components of a comprehensive Governance Framework including guidelines for  effective lifecycle and constituency management
  1. Through a consultative process, develop proposals on the Board’s future size and composition in the context of a changing global economic and development landscape

Danish Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva and TGC Member Carsten Staur (Point Seven Delegation) presented the TGC recommendations on Board size and composition.

The recommendations are based on a Board retreat in July 2015, an independent study by the Graduate Institute Geneva, and an anonymous Board survey.

Two suggestions to the Board retreat were to add an Implementer Group Board seat for Africa (which receives 70% of Global Fund funding) and a Donor Group seat for new donors.

The Board retreat provided “no clear direction on the future size and composition of the Board.”

Three options in the independent study were:

  1. Maintaining two blocs (preferred by Developed Country NGO Board delegation)
  1. Evolving into holistic Board with no blocs for all processes and procedures
  1. Maintaining two-group structure for all processes except voting process where Board would vote holistically, therefore removing the requirement for double two-thirds majority to pass decisions

The survey provided “no clear consensus or common ground on any of the options provided.”

After the Board retreat, the independent study, and the anonymous survey, the TGC reported that there is “not sufficient support within the Board to recommend immediate changes to the Board composition and size.”

The TGC concluded that it would be “premature — and probably counterproductive — to recommend any radical restructuring of the Board at the current time.”

The TGC recognized the presence of a clear Global Fund 2017-2022 Strategy, but it noted the absence of a “shared vision across the constituencies on the future direction of the Fund if it succeeds in bringing about significant reductions in the epidemics as intended within the timeframe covered by the Strategy.”

The TGC stated that the Board should develop “a shared vision for the future of the Fund moving towards 2030.”

The TGC recommended that the new Ethics and Governance Committee (EGC) should coordinate further discussion on Board composition and size with the mid-point review of the Global Fund 2017-2022 Strategy and the development of the subsequent strategy by the new Strategy Committee (SC).

The TGC also recommended that the Donor Group “[review] its method for allocating Board seats, including consideration of factors and process relating to the inclusion of new donors interested in participating in the Global Fund’s governance activities.”

The Developed Country NGO Delegation believes that the Board is unique as a public-private partnership with representation from donor and implementer governments, civil society, private foundations, and the private sector.

Our delegation believes that the Board remains fit-for-purpose and does not currently need to change its size and composition.

We would consider changes in Board size and composition if the Board would decide to expand the Global Fund mandate.