Challenges and Opportunities for the New Executive Director of the Global Fund: Seven Essential Tasks

The Global Fund Working Group
October 26, 2006

In its first four years, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has become one of the most important aid agencies in the world, both because it is now a major force in the fight against the three diseases, and because it has pioneered new approaches in foreign assistance. The Global Fund is about to enter a crucial new phase as it makes its first leadership transition, with Richard Feachem completing his term and Michel Kazatchkine taking over as Executive Director (ED), and as the organization shifts from an innovative start-up to a mature institution.

In advance of this leadership change, the Center for Global Development convened a high-level independent Working Group to help the new ED define the major tasks that s/he should primarily focus attention, and provide specific recommendations for action. The Group identified seven key tasks, starting from operations in-country where ultimate results are achieved, through supporting arrangements aimed at making those operations more effective--technical assistance, performance based funding, procurement and supply chain strategies, and secretariat operations--and ending with the overarching issues of financing and Board relationships.

The Group recommended a wide range of specific actions, some of which the ED and Secretariat can implement on their own, and others which will require the support of the Board or the cooperation of key multilateral, bilateral, government, NGO and private sector partners. Some of the key recommendations include:

  • The new ED should convene a "Heads of Agencies Group" with the Director General of the WHO, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, and the President of the World Bank to jointly tackle key problems in technical assistance, procurement, monitoring, evaluation, and other key issues
  • Working with other agencies, the ED should help develop an "information market" for technical assistance, building on existing mechanisms with UNAIADS, the Stop TB Partnership, and Roll Back Malaria
  • The Secretariat should regularly and quickly provide early warning information on country programs to recipients, CCM members, governments, international partners, and key NGO groups so that actions can be taken quickly to get programs back on track
  • The ED should commission a management audit of the Secretariat, considering hiring additional Portfolio Managers, and consider shifting from one portfolio manager per country to teams of two or three working across countries.
  • The ED should hire a full-time professional fund raising team, led by a senior professional and comprised of experts with diverse skills to work with traditional, non-traditional, and private sector donors
  • The Board should make the ED a non-voting member of the Board so that the experiences and insights of the ED and the Secretariat are more fully reflected in Board discussions.

The Working Group consists of 21 members, including relevant experts in government, civil society organizations, foundations, academia, private sector companies and disease-based partnership initiatives.

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