Quick update of 34th board meeting

Coming back slightly exhausted from the Global Fund Board meeting, which was held on 16-17 November 2015, we wanted to quickly update you about major decisions. Although not many decisions have been made, there were nevertheless a  lot of important discussions inside and outside the actual Board room.

For example on the issue on allocation,  the Board was requested to give direction to the SIIC on how to proceed with the business model and its different components in the next allocation cycle. Discussions and negotiations were tedious at times, but we managed to push for some important  issues (hopefully!) in the right direction, which are close to our hearts.

Our delegation was presented by Ton Coenen (Board member), Annemarie Meyer (Alternate Board member), Beate Ramme-Fülle (Communication Focal Point), Owen Ryan, Beatrijs Stikkers, Kerstin Akerfeldt, Khalil Elouardighi, Pye Jacobbson, Asia Russell and Sergey Votyagov. Peter van Rooijen and Katy Kydd Wright represented GFAN as observers.

A full report will be coming up soon!

See also the decision points document that is available at www.theglobalfund.org/en/board/meetings/34.

  1. Strategic Review 2015. The Board “acknowledged the results and recommendations” of the Strategic Review 2015 commissioned by the Technical Evaluation Reference Group (TERG). The Secretariat has been asked to consider the recommendations by the TERG as it prepares the final 2017-2022 Strategy narrative.
  2. Strategic Framework. The Board approved the framework for the 2017-2022 Strategy. The framework contains four focus areas: (1) maximize impact against HIV, TB and malaria; (2) build resilient and sustainable system for health; (3) promote and protect human rights and gender equality; and (4) mobilize increased resources.

The Board requested that the Secretariat submit the final strategy narrative through the SIIC in February 2016. A lot of work needs to be done in this area, and we will be working hard to fill the 4 four focus areas with substance!

  1. 2016 Operating Expenses and Corporate Workplan. The Board approved  the 2016 operating expenses budget of $305 million for the Secretariat and the Office of the Inspector General. The Board also approved a 2016 corporate work plan and budget narrative.
  2. Replenishment. Our delegation (incl. developing Country NGO delegation and Communities) tabled this decision point, as to make sure we get stronger Board commitment for the next Replenishment. The Board decided that it will explore options to enhance its active engagement in contributing towards a successful outcome, including the broadening of the donor base. In addition, the Board decided that it will seek the support of one or more high-level individuals who will advocate on its behalf for a successful replenishment.  Thank you so much for Peter and Annemarie, who worked on this issue! It was really working well as to hear the donors to speak up!
  3. Enhanced Governance Structure. The Board approved in principle changes to its committee structure. If the changes are confirmed, the names of all three committees will be altered. The new names will be:
  • Strategy Committee
  • Audit and Finance Committee
  • Ethics and Governance Committee

To reflect these changes, the TGC recommended modifications to the charters of each committee, the Fund’s Bylaws, the terms of reference of the Board’s Coordinating Group and the Operating Procedures of the Board and Committees. The Board was scheduled to vote on the modifications, but asked for more time to discuss the modifications.

The main problem was the “extra” seats as an observer status (for the constituencies who are not officially in the committees) and whether the board member or alternate board member (and in exceptional cases, someone else from the delegation), could attend and what the definition was of this exceptional case.

This session lasted for almost 2 hours and people got carried away! Nevertheless, we managed, to pass the decision “in principle”!

Ton was key to solve this matter. Thanks, Ton!

  1. Market Shaping Strategy. The Board approved a new market shaping strategy which replaces the strategy adopted in 2011. The strategy includes a section on preparing for when countries transition away from Fund support and that it supports efforts to address barriers and practices that prevent access to affordable medicines. A working group was established to work on a friendly amendment and a very special thanks goes to Asia and Kerstin who fought so hard on the amendment and proposals to the revised language.  The language is exceptional!

Annex 1 to GF/B34/17 – Revision 1, the amended and restated market shaping strategy:

  • The changes are summarized as inserting the new paragraph 11, which states the text below and is the result of deleted and relocated text from what was previously paragraph 26:

The Global Fund also supports countries in obtaining quality-assured products at the lowest cost and supports the use of TRIPS flexibilities in compliance with national laws and international obligations to protect public health, as set out in the Global Fund’s Framework Document and the Guide to Global Fund Policies on Procurement and Supply Management of Health Products (2012).  The Global Fund does not prescribe how countries implement their obligations and flexibilities under TRIPS, as those decisions remain the responsibility of each country.

  • The second change is inserting the highlighted text in what was previously paragraph 42, now 43:

As with other international financing institutions, competition is a basic principle for procurements financed by the Global Fund.  The Global Fund will continue to encourage market competition through its Procurement and Supply Management policies, which require recipients to “use transparent competitive procedures for the purchase of health products.”

The Global Fund supports efforts to address barriers and practices that prevent access to affordable medicines by promoting generic competition in order to help reduce costs.

In addition, in markets where there are few quality-assured manufacturers, the Global Fund Secretariat may apply strategic procurement practices through the PPM to foster competition, such as reserving volume for new entrants in tenders conducted by the Secretariat.  Potential strategic procurement practices are discussed further in Annex 6.  Finally, the Expert Review Panel (ERP) is also a mechanism to enhance competition when there are fewer than two quality-assured suppliers of a given product.  The ERP is discussed later in this section under Strategic Objective 4: Accelerate the adoption of new and/or more cost-effective products.

We hope to submit a full report soon. We will also try to give you an update on the allocation next week, but need some time on this. The SIIC had their deliberations only today!

Thank you so much for all the colleagues who worked so hard in the last couple of days! It is really great to have such a dedicated team!

A special thanks goes to Ton, who will be handing over his chair to Owen as of today! Good luck to both of you!

Let us know, if anything is unclear and needs more clarifications!

  • Kind regards, on behalf of the delegation, Beate