GENEVA – The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria embraced collective action toward ending epidemics, strengthening health systems and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 by 2030.
At the Board’s 40th meeting, partners discussed the Global Fund’s main priority for 2019: its next Replenishment, to be hosted by France in October 2019. The Board reviewed essential elements in making the case for greater investment in health, as well as mobilization campaign plans, to be discussed at greater detail at a Preparatory Replenishment meeting in New Delhi, India, in February 2019.
Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund, pointed to five foundational factors: The Global Fund plays a vital and irreplaceable role in delivering the Sustainable Development Goal agenda; enables greater global health security; is a powerful partner in tackling some of the worst aspects of gender inequality; plays a unique role in addressing health inequalities including human rights barriers to health; and has a consistent record of delivering results – saving lives and making progress toward the ultimate goal of ending the epidemics.
“We will not achieve the SDG 3 target of ending the epidemics by simply continuing along the current path,” said Sands. “We need more resources, more innovation and better execution. Attaining our objectives will require renewed energy and determination from all of us.”
Greater partnerships are essential, in the context of an evolving landscape on global health, where the Global Fund has aligned its work with multiple organizations in the Global Action Plan for SDG 3.
With Replenishment coming, the Board supported a revised approach to private sector engagement and innovative financing. Founded as a public-private partnership, the Global Fund looks forward to creating further partnerships with the private sector for innovative solutions and alternative funding mechanisms.
The Board also launched a selection process for new leadership. Board Chair Aida Kurtovic and Vice-Chair John Simon each complete a two-year term in May, 2019.
Reviewing the Global Fund’s work plan for 2019, the Board approved a budget for operating expenses in 2019.
The Board reviewed the Global Fund’s strategic performance framework and key performance indicators, providing an overview of progress towards the Global Fund’s strategy targets and objectives, oversight of global and regional disease trends, and Global Fund grant and corporate performance.
A special session on human rights addressed the multiple barriers to accessing health services that are faced by key and vulnerable populations. Advocates from Costa Rica, South Africa and Ukraine brought the session to life with personal experiences on the front lines of their work to protect the right to health. The Global Fund has taken steps toward embedding human rights components into core programming, yet human rights barriers to health remain serious in many countries, and partners uniformly agreed that much more needs to be done.
Another special session featured youth advocates who showcased work on advocacy and inclusion of young people in global health work, including capacity development tools and approaches developed and implemented by and for young people.
It was the first Global Fund Board meeting to be held at Geneva’s Global Health Campus, a building shared by the Global Fund; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Unitaid; Stop TB and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.
The Board meeting closed with a special moment to honor the memory and contributions of Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General, who died in Switzerland in August 2018 and who played a leading role in the creation and ongoing support of the Global Fund.
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