Key Takeaways: The Global Fund’s 40th Board Meeting

The Global Fund Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) held its twice yearly Board meeting of its donor, civil society, private sector and other members on November 14-15 in Geneva, Switzerland. Below are highlights from that meeting:

  • Getting on track to end the epidemics. Investment of time and capital is needed to end the three epidemics by 2030 and make marked improvement in global health.
  • Leveraging financing. The Global Fund is using data on the efficacy of grants to inform future work for domestic resource mobilization and private sector engagement.
  • Stepping up on human rights. Through the HER Initiative, which is focused on adolescent girls and young women in HIV response, the Global Fund is working to integrate promotion of human rights and access to care for vulnerable and key populations.

The following provides more information on the key takeaways from the Global Fund’s 40th Board Meeting.

Getting on track to end the epidemics

As the Global Fund heads into 2019, focus for the Board and partners was on the best way to move forward to end the three epidemics by 2030, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 3. While there has been significant progress in reducing the effects of the diseases, including the 27 million lives saved to date, there are still far too many people suffering and dying from these epidemics.

  • On HIV/AIDS, a stepped up focus reducing new infections is needed, in particular for adolescent girls and young women in Africa and key populations.
  • On tuberculosis, the Global Fund is committed to closing the gap and finding the missing cases — nearly four million people going undiagnosed and untreated.
  • On malaria, the global health community must stay on top of potential changes in disease transmission, focusing on the highest-burden countries.

Getting on track to end the epidemics is the context for the upcoming Global Fund Replenishment campaign for 2020-2022. The United States and other donors will make pledges for 2020-2022 at a conference hosted by France in October 2019. The Global Fund will announce its fundraising target before a preparatory meeting in India, which will also spotlight India’s stepped up  efforts against TB.

Increased funding is needed to continue to scale life-saving Global Fund programs. Globally, the Global Fund is currently responsible for:

  • 20 percent of funding to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, second only to the U.S. PEPFAR investment;
  • 57 percent of funding to treat and prevent transmission of malaria, particularly in high incidence countries;
  • Funding 69 percent of all efforts to combat and treat tuberculosis, which is now the cause of more deaths worldwide than AIDS and malaria combined.

Leveraging financing

As executive director Peter Sands highlighted in his report to the Board, the Global Fund is working to spur domestic and partner financing. Domestic resource mobilization is key to scaling lifesaving services and preparing countries for transition from Global Fund financing.

During the meeting, the Board approved a framework for deeper private sector engagement. Additional private sector partnerships will yield critical additional investment in ending the epidemics, and will be channeled through the Global Fund or direct corporate cooperation with implementers in country.

Stepping up on human rights

In a special session on the work of the Global Fund to promote human rights, the Board and partners of the Global Fund highlighted the intersection of human rights and access to care. In particular, French Ambassador for Global Health Stephanie Seydoux noted how Global Fund programs are reinforcing PEPFAR’s DREAMS campaign, empowering young women and adolescent girls through the Fund’s private sector partnership, the HER Initiative. The Global Fund is prioritizing services for marginalized and stigmatized populations.

Additionally, Global Fund Inspector General Mouhamadou Diagne spoke about his office’s efforts to evaluate the Global Fund’s work with countries on sustainable aid transition. The Office of the Inspector General launched an international hotline in 2017 for in-country whistleblowers and others to file complaints about fraud and possible abuses of human rights, including biases that prevent access to care. Ambassador Deborah Birx, the head of PEPFAR and the U.S. delegation to the Global Fund Board, praised the work of the Inspector General and noted the effect of the Global Fund’s audits on U.S. efforts to prevent fraud in its own programs.