18 May 2018
Key decisions taken at the 39th Board Meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, held on 9 and 10 May in Skopje, Macedonia included decisions around the eligibility policy, the evolution of the country coordinating mechanisms and a new decision on non-eligible countries in crisis.This statement highlights some of the key decisions passed that are in line with our delegation’s key priority areas and outlines how we would like to see these areas taken forward.
We appreciated the approval of the revised Eligibility Policy that eliminates some arbitrary exclusions; enables support for countries with high disease burden; gives the Secretariat more flexibility to assess eligibility in countries that fail to report data on key populations; maintains the NGO Rule for Russia, Romania and Bulgaria; and acknowledges the need to continue to support key populations who are disproportionately affected by the diseases. We appreciated that the Secretariat has committed that assessment of eligibility for Russia, Romania and Bulgaria will draw on the Universal Periodic Review and related treaty body concluding observations. Our delegation called for UNAIDS and UNDP to provide support by assessing barriers in those countries independently.
We also welcomed the reaffirmation of the central role of Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) and of their critically important role in strengthening engagement of civil society, key populations and communities in health governance. Our delegation also supported the approval of an evolution approach and additional funding for 2018 and 2019 that will strengthen CCMs to better carry out their function, and the approval of a Code of Conduct for CCM members.
In addition, we strongly supported the decision to recognise the emerging health crisis in Venezuela, which because it is ineligible, could have an adverse impact on the global response against HIV, tuberculosis, and/or malaria. After having initiated the conversation around ineligible countries in crisis at the Board table two years ago, we strongly argued that the Global Fund, which was founded as a “war chest” to fight the three diseases, must respond to a health crisis of such a magnitude.
At the 39thBoard Meeting our delegation raised the need for a proactive statement around sexual harassment to be made, which was supported by many other delegations. We welcomed the recognition of the dangers of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and look forward to increased focused on this and ensuring that the Fund fully implements this commitment in coming Board meetings. We recognize that the Global Fund is already engaged in scaling up funding for gender-transformative, adolescent-friendly programmes for adolescent girls and young women. However, we called for clear policies on sexual harassment to be put in place at the Board and in the Secretariat, including for Secretariat teams working at country level
We supported Peter Sand’s commitment to base the replenishment plan on a real estimate of resources needed to reach the Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health. In this light, new partnerships will be critical, but recent controversies have highlighted the need for a review of the partnership framework by the Audit and Finance Committee. The framework was last reviewed in 2011, and as the Fund begins to prepare for replenishment and outreach, it is urgent that this be updated and brought to the next Board meeting.
Developing Country NGO delegation Board member, Allan Maleche, was confirmed as a new member of the Audit and Finance Committee, and expressed his appreciation for the new role. He welcomed the progress made on cash absorption across the Global Fund portfolio, and called for closer monitoring of progress in the subset of high-burden countries that have historically had difficulties with absorption, in order to enable that progress to be recognized and addressed in the next Global Fund allocation methodology.
We deeply appreciate and welcome President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to host the next Global Fund replenishment conference in France in 2019 to raise funds for the period 2020 through 2022.
We called for human rights and gender equality to be standing items of the Board agenda and not be relegated to pre-meetings. The Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) report clearly indicates that more should be done to address human rights concerns in grants.
In addition, our work on the Eligibility Policy has highlighted that Global Fund policies may not be aligned with international law, including human rights standards. We recommend a comprehensive review of Global Fund policies to identify where they may need to be revised to align with these standards, ideally before the next round of funding. This is in line with Strategic objective 3 of the Global fund
We also called for Sustainability, Transitioning and Co-financing to be standing items on the Board agenda. While we welcomed the commitment to partnership in working toward sustainability, acting as a catalyst to additional investment, filling short-term gaps, and addressing bottlenecks in successful transition to domestic funding, we fear a global resurgence of HIV beginning in upper-middle-income countries.
The Developing Country NGO (DCNGO) delegation submitted official statements and opinions on reports and decision points in advance of the opening of the Board here: Developing Country NGO Delegation Constituency Statements on Key Issues of the 39th Board Meeting Find the Statement on the 39thBoard Meeting from the Global Fund here.
The Developing Country NGO delegation to the Board of the Global Fund is a voting constituency that represents NGOs from the developing world, serving those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, TB, & Malaria. The delegation seeks to influence decisions and policies to ensure strategic, continuous and appropriate responsiveness to the needs of those affected by the three diseases and the NGOs providing services to them. For more information, please contact Lesley Odendal, Communications Focal Point, Developing Country NGO delegation, email@example.com