Sub-Saharan Africa holds two of the seven Board seats that are set aside for governments of the Global Fund’s implementing countries. These comprise one representative from Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) and one from Western and Central Africa (WCA) constituencies.
Given the expansiveness and diversity of the countries within each of the ESA and WCA regions, their Board representatives are faced with various challenges that impede meaningful participation and engagement with the Global Fund Board. This hinders adequate representation of the African regions in Global Fund decision making, which is crucial given the extent of the Global Fund’s investment in them. African representatives to Global Fund meetings often have limited support required to enable them to effectively engage in discussions that would increase the continent’s impact on Board decision making and policy development.
In 2012, the two Africa constituencies adopted a joint governance framework, which, in part, provides for the establishment of an Africa Constituency Bureau (ACB). The bureau will serve as a technical resource center to ensure effective engagement, representation and participation of the Africa constituencies in Global Fund processes and enhance the capacity of the Africa constituencies to shape Global Fund policies and decisions.The governance framework envisioned that increasing meaningful participation and engagement of ESA and WCA constituencies within the Global Fund Board would result in greater and more evidence-based investments in health in Africa to achieve greater impact.
Technical Support for Global Fund Content Analysis
While a permanent bureau is being established, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) was commissioned to provide expert technical support to the Africa constituencies to enable them to prepare more meaningfully and completely for the Board and committee meetings. APHRC develops briefing notes prior to key meetings, coordinates consensus positions and talking points on Global Fund processes and decisions, and assesses the potential impact of decisions on the African region. APHRC also conducts analysis to support development of positions on issues of central importance to the constituencies.
Results in Brief
Since October 2014, APHRC has conducted:
– Policy analysis & document synthesis: Constituency and committee members have used briefing materials to develop a clear grasp of key issues and to strategize on joint positions.
– Pre‐board meeting briefings have been held with constituent delegations prior to each Board meeting. Briefings also provide a space for African delegates to deliberate on the priority board meeting decisions and to agree on common positions.
– Priority identification and platform creation: A two‐day consultative session was held in May 2015 in Ethiopia for the African constituencies to develop a joint stance on issues of strategic importance in the region. This meeting preceded a larger Global Fund Partnership Forum meeting held in Addis Ababa. The resulting statement (also in French) articulated the African issues of strategic importance to the Africa Constituencies: 1) Resilient and sustainable systems for health, 2) Women & Girls, and 3) Challenging Operating Environments.
– Francophone consultations: A meeting that addressed poor grant performance, slow implementation and low absorptive capacity was held in Abidjan in August 2015 and co-facilitated by APHRC for 11 affected West and Central Africa constituency countries. APHRC conducted a survey to explore challenges facing grant implementation in those countries. Results informed discussions to address the greatest country-specific bottlenecks in improving absorptive capacity. The outputs from this meeting were action plans to address these bottlenecks. A follow-up meeting of the 11 countries was held at the end of June 2016 to assess progress and trouble-shoot remaining challenges. APHRC conducted a rapid assessment (view in French or English) to provide a snapshot of the status of implementation of the action plans and any residual challenges towards which more efforts should be directed.
The project is ongoing through March 2017