Diversity, strength and inclusive health governance: Implementers on the Global Fund Board

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The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has a uniquely democratic and inclusive model of governance. Half of its Board is made up of 10 constituencies representing 123 countries that receive health financing from the Global Fund, as well as civil society organizations, and networks of communities living with HIV and affected by TB and malaria. Last week, it was my honor to join the Implementers Group of the Board to co-facilitate their annual retreat in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Implementers Group is not only diverse as a whole — each of the ten constituencies is also internally diverse, with up to 23 geographically and linguistically diverse countries. The individual delegates are diverse — ministers of health meet on equal terms with medical doctors and community activists. Delegates speak many languages and come from a range of cultural, religious and political contexts. They all share a commitment to combating HIV, TB and malaria.

Under the calm and diplomatic leadership of the group’s chair, Allan Maleche, and vice chair, Nataliya Nizova, the group managed to forge new bonds, find common ground, and talk frankly about some challenging issues: human rights, gender equality, absorptive capacity, and sustaining the gains made in countries transitioning out of Global Fund support. They worked hard to plan within and across their constituencies on ways to strengthen governance and support the Global Fund to implement its ambitious strategy for 2017-22.

Allan’s organization, KELIN, a great Kenyan health and human rights group, took time out from numerous projects, training programs and active lawsuits to host us — including a performance by the Kenyan Boys Choir and an evening of delicious Kenyan cuisine. KELIN also posted this summary:

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The Implementer Group of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria held its fourth annual retreat on 21 – 23 September 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. Board members, alternate board members, communications focal points, nominated constituency members, the Vice Chair of the Global Fund board and a few members of the secretariat attended the retreat.

The Implementer Group consists of 10 constituencies representing: communities, developed country NGOs, developing country NGOs, East and Southern Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), Eastern Mediterranean Region, Latin American Region, South East Asia, West and Central Africa and Western Pacific, which are governed by a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson elected from these constituencies. Allan Maleche (developing countries NGO delegation) serves as the chair and he is deputised by Prof. Nataliya Nizova (EECA).

The retreat had three main objectives, namely:

  • To build a more cohesive Implementers’ Group;
  • To develop a plan to improve recruitment, on-boarding, communications, experience-sharing and consensus-building within and between member constituencies;
  • To discuss substantive areas within the Global Fund Strategy 2017-2021 that are shared priorities across the diverse implementing constituencies, and develop a three year road map with specific activities that support the Secretariat’s work.

This retreat provided thorough, engaging and fruitful discussions on various topical issues including absorptive capacity, cross border cooperation and a briefing from the Kenya Country Coordinating mechanism. The Group recognised its diversity, and in that, the diversity of issues that affect it, but made a commitment to work as a group and leverage each other’s issues. The members of the group welcomed the pledges of all the countries towards the Global Fund replenishment and committed to work on four outcome areas that feed into the proposed road map and are in line with the key performance indicators adopted by the board of the Global Fund. The outcome areas include:

  • Outcome 1: Build a more cohesive and effective Implementer Group
  • Outcome 2: Increase programming for key populations and human rights in Middle Income countries
  • Outcome 3: Increase rate at which countries effectively absorb allocated funds
  • Outcome 4: Key performance indicators on key populations, gender and human rights

The meeting was concluded with closing remarks from Ms. Aida Kurtovic, the Vice chair of the Global Fund board, and the set up of a task force to help finalise the activities for the Implementer’s road map that will be submitted to the relevant committee within two weeks.

 

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