Going into the regional consultations on country coordinating mechanisms (CCMs), the Global Fund was proposing to adopt a differentiated approach to the role and structure of CCMs. They said that instead of having one standard model for all countries, as at present, there should be several models based on country size and operational context. Under this proposed approach, country size included three categories: high impact, small and standard. The operational context consisted of two categories: challenging operating environments (COEs) and countries in transition.
This idea met with some resistance during the regional consultations (see GFO articles here and here). In a paper prepared for the Board meeting just concluded in Geneva, the Global Fund Secretariat said that a major finding from the consultations was the emergence of three CCM “maturity levels” – Basic Governance, Program Oversight and Strategic Engagement. The paper defined these levels as follows:
- Basic Governance refers to CCMs that have weak governance structures, coordinate Global Fund programs only around funding applications, and face challenges to get the CCM to function as a multi-sectoral platform.
- Program Oversight refers to CCMs that have strong governance structures, effectively engage with principal recipients (PRs), implement an adequate level of oversight over the programs throughout the grant lifecycle, and ensure adequate technical assistance to address bottlenecks.
- Strategic Engagement refers to CCMs that fulfil requirements of program oversight; receive government co-financing to operate; optimize Global Fund funds and mobilize other funds, trying to get full program coverage; professionalize oversight; have an impact on grant ratings; act as, or link to, or embed in, the coordinating body for national programs; and plan for post–Global Fund in terms of sustainability, for example having a budget allocation.
Most CCMs are likely at the first two levels. The Global Fund’s goal is to progress CCMs to Strategic Engagement through incentives, most likely non-financial, and technical assistance. “However, the Secretariat recognizes that no matter how much support and resources are provided, not all CCMs will progress,” the paper says.
According to the paper, the consultations identified four key enablers that will help CCMs evolve to the Strategic Engagement level, as follows:
- having the right leaders chairing the CCM and engaged in the CCM from the government and partners, as well as civil society and key populations;
- having an effective CCM secretariat whose function and mandate evolves to better support strategic CCM functioning;
- having strong support and active engagement from the Global Fund Secretariat, in particular regarding the oversight function; and
- having sufficient financial resources for the CCM to function.
The paper said that the consultations identified the need to strengthen CCM engagement, oversight and linkages to national bodies. Each of these terms was explained in more detail; here is a summary:
- Regarding engagement, the CCMs must strengthen the quality of engagement of all CCM members. They must increase accountability of all sectors. Engagement should be extended to include grant-making and grant implementation. CCMs need to systematically address power imbalances across CCM constituencies. CCMs must provide solutions for logistical bottlenecks limiting civil society and key population engagement.
- Expectations have to be clarified with respect to the CCM’s oversight function. The CCM can use oversight committees to regularly review PR performance with the country teams, supported by the local fund agent (LFA). The CCM needs to maximize synergies with other organizations.
- CCMs should ensure robust interfaces and linkages with national bodies. Different country contexts mean that each CCM has to tailor its interface with national bodies. CCMs need to review their anchorage and legal status. Moving forward, CCMs will need to foster collaboration between existing platforms.
For COEs, the consultations sent a clear message about the added value of requiring a CCM because it empowers coordination in uncertain political settings. Given the uncertainties however, more flexibility is required, such as with the composition of the CCM. Membership in the CCM could be based how much a person can participate and which sector they represent.
The Secretariat will proceed with the development of a CCM Evolution Plan. The Secretariat will analyze the feasibility, impact and cost of various scenarios, including one where no additional resources are available, and share the results with the Board committees at their March 2018 meetings. The Secretariat will request Board approval of any policy changes that may be required at the 39th meeting of the Board in May 2018.
Board document GF-B38-21 (Evolving CCMs to Align with the Global Fund Strategy) should be available shortly at www.theglobalfund.org/en/board/meetings/38.