First look: the upcoming Global Fund Board meeting agenda
Article Number: 2
The power of stakeholder feedback has resulted in a rejigged agenda to allow more time for discussion on some important topics
ABSTRACT A sneak preview of the upcoming Board agenda shows a packed schedule for the Board meetings to be held on 10, 11 and 12 May. In particular, the debate on catalytic investments is proving to be a hot topic. Moreover, constituency pressure has resulted in the Secretariat announcing a revised agenda to allow more in-depth discussion of topics such as the plans for Strategy implementation.
The Global Fund’s 47th Board Meeting will be held from 10 to 12 May 2022 in Geneva and is a hybrid mixture of virtual and in-person sessions. It will be the first time in two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that the Board members and their alternates will meet face to face. The Delegations, however, will attend online.
The agenda is a busy one and there are many items for discussion.
Pre-Board meeting sessions on 5 May will be held virtually to discuss the Annual Update on Community, Rights and Gender, and COVID-19 and Business Continuity. The GFO will bring you articles on these two reports in our forthcoming Special Board issues #1009 and #1010 on 12 and 19 May, respectively. These items for information will be followed by a Briefing on Strategy Committee (SC) Decision Items and Spotlight on: The Global Fund in Emergency Settings. Two virtual networking sessions will also be held.
The first day of the Board meeting itself, Tuesday 10 May, usually kicks off with an Update from the Executive Director. This was to be followed by an Update on Preparations for Strategy Implementation. However, this topic produced significant reactions from the constituencies who clearly feel that more time, and perhaps even a decision on how to proceed, is merited. As a result, on 20 April a letter was sent out to the Board Members, Alternates and Focal Points noting that the agenda has been adjusted in response to constituency inputs received and, accordingly, the Board would spend “significant time” on Strategy implementation matters across the program. An in-person Informal Pre-Board Discussion on Strategy Implementation (for Board Members, Alternates, and SC members) has been added ahead of the formal meeting, on Sunday 8 May. Additionally, the Strategy Implementation session on Day 1 of the Board Meeting has been extended to 120 minutes. The letter went on to note that “The session will be for discussion, and we look forward to rich interactions. We note that the implementation plan and preparations will continue to evolve following the Board meeting, and that the Board and Strategy Committee will remain closely involved in overseeing this important work as we prepare for the new Strategy period.”
Given the importance of the forthcoming Strategy, we have covered the gist of these discussions in Article 6, Plans for operationalizing the forthcoming Global Fund Strategy, which you can read here.
This is followed by the first of the four items for decision, the Revision of the Eligibility Policy. This item goes hand-in-glove with the 2023-2025 Allocation Methodology to be discussed on the next day, also for decision, and both will be reported on in Special Board issue #1009 on 12 May.
Day 2, Wednesday 11 May, starts with the Executive Session. It is followed by the Allocation Methodology, and the Board then goes on to the third item for decision, Catalytic Investments for the 2023-2025 Allocation Period. This is turning out to be a very hot topic indeed — during March’s SC meeting there was significant disagreement on this issue with the result that an extraordinary committee meeting will be organized just before the Board meeting to attempt to reach consensus. Regarding catalytic investments, the aforementioned letter of 20 April notes that the Strategy Committee Leadership will provide an update to the Board at the beginning of the Board session, and pending upcoming SC deliberations, session timing may be further adjusted if needed. Definitely a Board discussion not to be missed!
Day 3 starts with an intriguing session entitled Culture Workshop for Board and Alternate Board Members for those participating in person, held for two hours in the morning. The 20 April letter states that “Culture will indeed remain a topic of high priority, and participation in this workshop is mandatory for all Board Members and Alternate Board Members.” We hope to be able to find out more about what this entailed after the event.
The GFO will bring you a summary of the background papers and main decision points, plus the highlights of the Board’s discussion, in GFO Special Issue #1009 on 12 May.
The final items for the day are an Update on M&E and 2023+ KPI Framework Development, which has been extended, and the Annual Report and Opinion of the Ethics Officer.
The final day of the Board meeting, Thursday 12 May, starts with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) 2021 Annual Report and Annual Opinion on Governance, Risk Management and Internal Controls, appropriately immediately followed by the Risk Management Report and Annual Opinion of the Chief Risk Officer: both of which will be reported on in GFO Special Issue #1010 on 19 May. The OIG Annual Report session will provide the opportunity to exchange on OIG investigations and Global Fund responses, according to the 20 April letter.
The fourth and final item for decision, Governance: Mandates and Tenure Decisions, covers two areas: (i) Revisions to the Committee Charters and (ii) the Board Leadership Terms of Reference. The Board meeting finishes with an Update on Resource Mobilization and the Seventh Replenishment Campaign.
While the meetings themselves seem no more crowded than usual, the agenda is accompanied by 30 or so background papers. With so many topics, it is impossible to allow adequate time for discussion in a three-day (in fact, three half-days) period; accordingly, some of these are for information purposes only, such as the Technical Reference Evaluation Group (TERG) Update and so on. But some are no less important than the items up for Board discussion, such as the Technical Review Panel (TRP) Update, which includes changes to the TRPs’ Terms of Reference, and the Strategic Performance Report (2021 results). This has led some delegations to point out that, while reiterating their appreciation for the outstanding work done by the SC to put together such an impressive agenda, they believe that some of the strategic issues should be thoroughly discussed and decided by the entire Board at the Board Meeting.
With this in mind, we at Aidspan have decided on an unprecedented approach to this very important hybrid Board meeting: instead of bringing you one post-Board Special Issue with a summary of the key decision points, papers and discussion, we will publish two back-to-back issues (the aforementioned Special Issues of 12 and 19 May) to be able to cover more of the Board papers, including those important topics mentioned above that are of key interest but not up for discussion at the Board meeting.