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The thirteenth Board Meeting of the Global Fund kicks off with briefings tomorrow, and the formal meeting will be held this Thursday and Friday. The agenda is packed with important decisions, summarized below. CGD will post more detailed blogs on the major topics over this week.

Round 6: There are not currently enough resources pledged to launch a new round of funding, but it has been over a year since the last round was launched. Some donors are opposed to launching a new round, while recipients and communities are advocating for a launch. Additional funding could be made available by changing the Comprehensive Funding Policy, so that funds pledged for future years could be committed in 2006.

Comprehensive Funding Policy: The Board will consider amending the CFP, which currently requires that the Global Fund have the entire two-year grant amount (Phase 1) committed for the current year in order to launch a new round. This means, for example, that funds committed for 2006 must be sufficient to launch a new round, and funds committed for 2007-2008 do not count. The proposed change would allow commitments for 2007 to count in 2006, and therefore allow the Fund to possibly launch a new round this year. This is mostly just an accounting mechanism, which is currently fairly conservative.

Resource Mobilization: In a similar vein, the Board will discuss the resource mobilization strategy for the Fund. This is a very important area as the Fund has not yet generated the mount of funds it believes are necessary. The Resource Mobilization Strategy considers the tradition G8 donors, as well as newer donors from oil-producing states and Asia. The Board will also discuss innovative financing, including the Airline Solidarity Contribution, and the RED campaign.

Executive Director Search: Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Fund since its inception, intends to step down. An ad hoc committee consisting of the chairs and vice-chairs of the Board Committees will propose a process for selecting the new ED. Most likely the Board will name the new ED at the Fall Board Meeting, although there are some efforts to name a new ED sooner.

Moving Towards Centralized Procurement: The Board will consider moving towards some form of centralized procurement, which would be decided at the next Board meeting. Procurement is a major bottleneck for many Global Fund grants. The Fund also diminishes its ability to shape the market, by improving demand forecasting and driving the development of new technologies, by decentralizing procurement. Now some procurement might be done centrally.

Phase 2 Decisions on Nigeria: The Independent Panel named to review the two Round 1 Nigeria HIV/AIDS grants, which have received two “No Go” decisions by the Secretariat will present their report, and the Board will decide upon Conditional Gos or No Gos for both Nigeria grants. At stake are $70m of Phase 2 financing for prevention and treatment programs. The Board will also discuss the Phase 2 process more generally, but is unlikely to make major changes to the process until the fourteenth Board Meeting.

New Grant Eligibility Criteria: The Board will review the recommendation of the Portfolio Committee on the eligibility for “upper-middle income” countries. Small island states and several upper-middle income countries are at risk of not qualifying for funding. The proposal is that all “small island economies” would qualify. For other upper-middle income countries, they could apply if the sero-prevalence rate in a vulnerable population is over 5%, verified by WHO and/or UNAIDS, and if the proposal is targeted at that population. Upper-middle income countries would still have to pay a contribution towards the funding of the grant. The proposal is controversial, partly because it is HIV-focused, and because it is a low threshold to name a specific vulnerable population with 5% prevalence (such as IDUs or sex workers).

Funding the Green Light Committee: All TB programs with an MDR-TB component must have GLC approval, but the Fund has not supported the GLC directly. Now the GLC is facing serious funding gaps, so the Fund will consider direct payments to the GLC. The funding is short term, as the idea would be to incorporate the cost of the GLC into Round 6 and future grants, so that countries applying for TB funding with an MDR-TB component would need to factor in the cost of the GLC. The decision is significant, however, as it would be a direct payment outside of usual grantmaking, and could open the door to similar types of payments.

New Ethics Policies: The Board will consider a new whistle-blower policy and a lobbying policy. The lobbying policy became needed after some Board members were lobbied very hard by countries facing No Go situations.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.