The Global Fund’s 17th Committee meetings on Audit and Finance, Ethics and Governance, and Strategy, to meet virtually over a three-day period
Article Number: 2
But a packed agenda only allows 75 minutes to discuss the zero draft Strategy Narrative: is this sufficient?
ABSTRACT As the Global Fund 17th Audit & Finance, Ethics & Governance, and Strategy Committee meetings brings members together virtually, there are several key areas of interest up for discussion. However, undoubtedly the most important topic is the zero draft of the Strategy Narrative and only an hour and fifteen minutes is scheduled to discuss this. Is this really enough time for a topic of such magnitude?
On 4 and 5 October 2021, the Ethics and Governance Committee (EGC) will meet to consider, among other issues, the Ethics Board 2022 workplan and budget. This is followed by the Audit and Finance (AFC) Committee meeting on 7 and 8 October 2021. Meanwhile, on 5, 6, and 15 October 2021, the Strategy Committee (SC) convenes to consider, among many other issues, the Global Fund Strategy Narrative and the feedback received from various stakeholders and partners. All three committees will meet virtually.
This article is based on the respective Committees’ agendas.
The Global Fund has prepared the ground well in advance
Prior to the three half-day meetings, there will have been ‘Pre-calls’ on a number of issues: on 6 September, a Q & A session was held; during the week of 27 September there was a two-hour call on the Strategy Narrative and another on matters relating to the Technical Evaluation Reference Group (TERG), including the TERG workplan.
There will also be Pre-calls relating to various decisions to be made coming up for SC discussion:
- Call 1 (during the week of 27 September) – 1.5 -hour duration:
- Global Disease Split
- Risk appetite framework
- Monitoring and evaluation (M&E): Independent evaluation function
- Call 2 (8 October) – 1 hour
- 2017-22 key performance indicators (KPI) adjustments
- 4th Exceptional Funding Request for Venezuela.
At a date to be confirmed, there will be a general update on the impact of COVID-19 and the Global Fund COVID-19 response (a Joint Committees session to be held with the Executive Director).
Prior to the two half-day meetings of the EGC, the monthly EGC call and a ‘Pre-call’ on a COVID-19 Secretariat Update will take place.
On Wednesday 29 September there will be virtual meetings for the various Committees to discuss: (i) a general update on the impact of COVID-19 + Global Fund COVID-19 response – with the Executive Director (this will be a joint AFC/EGC/SC Session): and (ii) an informal information meeting on Risk Appetite (a joint AFC/SC Session).
To meet the demands of meeting virtually, the Global Fund has taken care to prepare the topics for discussion well in advance. It will provide pre-recorded video presentations for all items, to be made available to members at least one week before the meeting. It will invite written comments, to be submitted 48 hours before the meeting, and allocate a limited presentation time (five minutes) during the meeting itself to allow for what it deems to be sufficient time for Committee discussion.
Audit and Finance Committee
On the first day, Thursday 7 October 2021, the Committee will discuss a number of items. Financial Matters: The real work of the first day’s meeting is to discuss the 2021 Interim Financial Statements; for information/input, the discussion will focus on the Performance Assessment of the External Auditor, an Update on the Financial Dashboard, and an Update on the Informal Working Group on operating expenses (OPEX). Two decisions will be made on (i) Update on Financial Performance – Portfolio Optimization; and (ii) for Discussion, followed by a decision on Day 2, on the 2022 OPEX budget (including the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Budget) and workplan.
The second session will be held on the COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM) – Risk, Assurance, Monitoring and Evaluation Update, a session for information/input only. Finally, the Risk Management Matters session should result in a recommendation being made on Updates to Risk Appetite.
On the second day, Friday 8 October 2021, the day starts with a discussion on the Office of the Inspector General Matters. Following a closed session with the OIG, members will provide input to the Update on OIG Operational Progress Report and information will be provided by the Agreed Management Actions (AMA) Update. Thereafter, a decision will be made on the Approval of the OIG’s 2022 Work Plan, Budget, and KPIs.
Regarding Financial Matters, the Decision Point discussed in yesterday’s meeting will be introduced for a decision, as noted above, on the 2022 OPEX budget (including OIG Budget) and Corporate Workplan.
The meeting then goes on to discuss the 7th Replenishment Action Plan, whereby members will be asked to provide their inputs on the Plan. They will also be updated on the ongoing pledge conversions and resource mobilization efforts.
Supply Operations (SO) and Market Shaping is the title of the next session when members will be asked for their inputs on an update on SO and market-shaping, followed by the final session for members’ inputs into the Strategic Performance Report; and there will be an update on the M&E and KPI Framework development (measurement areas).
Ethics and Governance Committee
The first day of the EGC is on Monday 4 October and it starts with Governance in an evolving context which will discuss governance continuity in a changing setting: (i) there will be an update on virtual adaptations since 2020 and the ongoing operational adjustments outlined in the Governance Action Plan (GAP) 2.0; and (ii) EGC discussion on leveraging lessons for the future, including initial discussion on potential adaptations to the Operating Procedures of the Board and Committee (BCOPs) in light of lessons learned from the COVID-19 context.
The next session covers the Culture of trust, collaboration and accountability: still on the GAP 2.0 workstreams, this session continues with an update on ongoing work on governance culture (GAP 2.0 action item 5), including an interactive Committee discussion on building trust.
Leveraging the role of Committees is the final session on the GAP 2.0 workstreams. It covers the proposals on the review of Committee roles and responsibilities (GAP 2.0 action item 3) and tenure (GAP 2.0 action item 1). Initially, the EGC will assess the approach to the review of Committee Charters and consideration of adjustment to Committee mandates, followed by an update on the proposal on Committee term length.
The day closes with a closed Executive Session on Governance and Legal Matters.
The second day, Tuesday 5 October, starts with an Ethics Office Progress Update 2021. There is a session for information: an update on the Ethics Office progress against the 2021 workplan (including updates on Agreed Management Actions (AMAs), the Policy on Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Sexual Harassment (PSEAH), the Policy to Combat Fraud and Corruption (PCFC) and the Conflict of Interest (COI) policy).
There will be a presentation on the 2022 Ethics Office 2022 Workplan and Budget for Committee Decision and recommendation to the Board through the AFC.
The Legal Update is a brief 30-minutes information session to update EGC members on Legal Matters (the Sanctions Panel), and an update on an appointment (Independent Membership) of a new member to the Sanctions Panel. There will be a decision to follow via Electronic Decision Point (EDP) after the EGC 17 meeting
Honorarium Framework and Committee Leadership Support: The Proposed Revisions to the Honorarium Framework will be discussed and a decision reached for onward recommendation by EDP to the Board (to be confirmed). For information only, the EGC will discuss Committee Leadership Support and an Update on support arrangements for Committee Leadership.
Closing session: The day’s very brief (15 minutes) final session will address the EGC workplan and Priorities update, including an update on the Ethics Officer Recruitment process, and on the launch of Committee Selections Processes (Membership and Leadership). There will be a Committee Self-Assessment, followed by a Summary and Next Steps. Following this, a closed executive session will review confidential ethics cases.
Perhaps the Committee of most interest to readers, the SC meeting focuses many issues but, above all, the zero draft of the Strategy Narrative.
The first day, Tuesday, 5 October, commences with TERG matters. This session will focus on the final Thematic Evaluation Reference Group (TERG) evaluations on Strategic Initiatives (SIs) and Multi-Country Grants (MCG), the External Evaluation of the Prospective Country Evaluations (PCE) and PCE extension report, and the Global Health Security (GHS) review, including the Secretariat Responses. The evaluation approach for the COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM) will also be further discussed. A decision will be reached on the TERG Work Plan and Budget 2022.
There is an opportunity for consideration of the three remaining items discussed primarily in writing: (i) Strategic Performance Reporting; (ii) Country Funding and Portfolio Optimization; and (iii) the SIs’ bi-annual report.
The session on Strategy Development is undoubtedly the most important 75 minutes of discussion during the three days of the SC meeting. The zero draft of the Strategy Narrative is presented, whereby the Committee will focus on its recommendation to the Board on the Narrative. It is expected that the SC members will have read in advance almost 20 separate stakeholder and partner statements on the zero draft and that these will inform the discussions. A summary of these statements can be found in Article 3, Stakeholders’ views on the zero draft of the Global Fund Strategy Narrative.
This is followed by the day’s final session on Eligibility and Allocation, Part 1: This final session is another item for recommendation, asking for members’ inputs and SC recommendation on the Global Disease Split for the 2023-25 allocation methodology.
The second day of deliberations, Wednesday 6 October, launches with Part 2 of Eligibility and Allocation, focusing on the technical parameters of both the allocation methodology and the eligibility policy, as well as the beginning of what will undoubtedly be lengthy discussions about catalytic investments for the next cycle. The SC will be requested to provide inputs on the different areas or parameters with the aim of providing a clear direction to the Secretariat.
Risk Management Matters: This session will discuss the Risk Management Report and seek SC inputs for recommendation to the Board on the Risk Appetite Framework.
Supply Operations (SO)/Market Shaping update: This session will provide SC members with an update on SO and Market Shaping matters. After this, the SC will have to come to a decision and recommendation on the future independent evaluation function.
The third day of the SC meeting takes place seven days later on Friday 15 October, when the SC will reconvene to consider the Adoption of Decision Items for recommendation to the Board.
This will cover two issues: (i) adjustments to 2017-22 KPIs; and (ii) the 4th exceptional Funding Request for Venezuela. Health Financing/Sustainability, Transition and co-Financing (HF/STC) matters will also be discussed.
Technical Review Panel (TRP) matters: This session will provide members with an update on TRP matters and will focus on the findings from the OIG Advisory, as well as requesting SC input on the findings and recommendations to inform the work of the TRP Matters Working Group. The TRP will also present its report on resilient and sustainable systems for health (RSSH), as well as updates on continuing work.
M&E and KPI Framework development update: This final session will provide an update on the M&E and KPI development process, including the early outcomes of the technical consultations.