Notes from W4GF Webinar on the 2nd Partnership Forum

A webinar was organised and hosted by W4GF on August 13, 2015 for W4GF advocates and partners to share experiences from participation at the Global Fund 2nd Partnership Forum in Bangkok; as well as to strategise for the third and final upcoming Partnership Forum.

15 participants, and 2 Global Fund Secretariat Staff attended the webinar. For more information about the purpose of the Global Fund Partnership Forums, please click here.

The webinar agenda covered the following:

  • Reflections from the Global Fund Secretariat
  • Analysis of the key issues on gender, women and girls from the pre-meeting and the 2nd Partnership Forum and the Global Fund Board Retreat
  • Questions and discussions from webinar participants not at the Partnership Forum
  • Next steps and actions.

A report from the Global Fund Secretariat on the Bangkok Partnership forum can be found here

1. Global Fund Secretariat Update on the 2nd Partnership Forum

The Global Fund Secretariat provided a brief summary of the 2nd Partnership Forum held in Bangkok on the 24 – 26 June, 2015 as well as an update on how the new Global Fund Strategy is developing with the following key points.  For more detail, please refer to the slide deck above.

The 2nd Partnership Forum gathered approximately 140 diverse stakeholders with different relationships with the Global Fund. Participants attended from Greater Asia, Pacific, Middle East and Northern Africa regions to provide input around the new Global Fund Strategy 2017 – 2021. Key themes that the Partnership Forum organised around included:

  • Gender
  • Human rights and Key Populations
  • Health Systems Strengthening (HSS)
  • Community Systems Strengthening (CSS)
  • Challenging Operating Environments (COE) (fragile states)
  • Priorities for the three diseases
  • The Funding Model

A two-day pre-meeting of community and civil society was convened by the Community Rights and Gender (CRG) Department on May 22 – 23, 2015 with approximately 57 civil society members of which only 25 were attending the actual Partnership Forum. In addition to other key pre-meetings the first Malaria advocates meeting (convened by GFAN Asia-Pacific) was critical space for malaria advocates to think about a forward looking strategy around malaria.

Civil society was well prepared and attended with a clear understanding of how the Global Fund works. Many advocates attended with key prioritised messaging due to regional organising ahead of the pre meetings. This engagement was possibly due to strong consultations undertaken in the region prior to the Partnership Forum by GFAN Asia Pacific, The Communities Delegation to the Board, and key regional networks such as the Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organizations (APCASO)). Looking forward to the next Partnership Forum similar regional organising is already underway.

Consistent high level messaging and priorities across the themes included:

  • “Leave no one behind” – Global Fund should remain global and focused on people not countries. This is a critical and contentious issue around transitioning.
  • Further invest in and monitor funding for community systems strengthening and community responses and develop clear/consistent indicators to measure those investments – the Global Fund does what it measures so these need to be robust
  • Collect the most appropriate indicators on gender and human rights (for example robust disaggregated data) based on ethical and human rights frameworks
  • Build upon the existing human rights, gender and key populations foundations in the 2012-2016 Global Fund Strategy
  • Safeguard access to quality and comprehensive services for women, young people and key populations
  • Increase the evidence base of the health outcomes of human rights and gender equality interventions to provide a rationale for the scale-up of gender and human rights programming
  • The Global Fund should play a more active role in ensuring treatment access – e.g. supporting countries to take full advantage of TRIPS flexibilities; advocacy around FTAs that limit availability of affordable medicines
  • Ensure responsible, long-term transition planning, and sustainable exit strategies for Middle Income Countries (MICs), with a focus on CSS and community responses
  • Greater recognition and resourcing of community and civil society across Global Fund processes (from Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) to program monitoring to advocacy).

On gender there remains strong momentum and consensus to elevate gender to the level of a strategic priority in the new Strategy. The question remains around how the Global Fund can effects change where it needs to happen – How will this commitment to gender be operationalised and not remain just policy?

The Draft July 2015 Strategic Framework, not shared in its entirety at the 2nd Partnership Forum includes the following strategic objectives – key discussion from the recent Global Fund Board Retreat held on the 29th and 30th July are included in brackets:

  • Invest to End Epidemics (The Communities Delegation requested that objective 1a “Focus evidence-based interventions on highest burden countries with the least ability to pay and key and vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the three diseases” to be more specific. A request was made to separate the second part objective 1a. As it is now, it only focuses on interventions in highest burdened countries. If this was separated out would we would be able to see where differentiation could take place so that the focus is not only on key and vulnerable populations with the least ability to pay. Many donors would not back down on the language around “least ability to pay” but there is space with some donors to focus funds for civil society to work on with key and vulnerable populations). 
  • Build Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health (This started as “Build resilience and sustainable health systems”. This small change in shifting the language becomes more inclusive of community systems strengthening and shows how community advocacy is important to the landscape. Another recommendation was that 2a could be more specific and not just focus on  “resilience for health” but also talk about investments, which is currently not clear. When further developing 2a we need to be clear on the indicators that will support this).
  • Respect and Promote Human Rights and Gender Equality (This is the first time that gender has been mentioned in any Global Fund Strategy at this level. There were many conversations –participants were generally happy with this but Board members requested that the language be further developed, as 3d “Integrate human rights considerations throughout the grant cycle and in policies and policy-making processes” would just end up being a tick box. We need to ensure substantive change during the grant cycle and developing indicators that lead to real change.  There was a request for clearer language around women and girls and gender – there was a push for gender being a more nuanced approach and obtaining data that is relevant to different populations).
  • Mobilize Increased Resources and Public Goods for Health (There were conversation from the private sector and delegations to separate mobilising resources and clarify if the public goods were for health or for the three diseases. There was a call for the Global Fund to work with partners but that this needed to be clarified. There were also concerns about the fact that this work is currently being done by other partners such as UNITAID who are implementing 4c “Shape markets to support innovation, sustainability, quality, affordability and availability” and clarification needed about what is the Global Funds role in supporting these partners).

2. Reflections from W4GF advocates at the 2nd Partnership Forum
Participants shared the following thoughts and reflections:

(a) General Feedback:

  • Participants were well prepared and this was a reflection of preparations prior to the Partnership Forum.
  • There was good synergy amongst people and networks in different spaces and sharing of information. It was helpful to have opportunities to meet with Board members and members of Strategy Impact and Investment Committee (SIIC) to assume good outcomes of the Partnership Forum. This should continue in the next Partnership Forum.
  • The two days pre meeting was useful but there were not enough women and girls in the actual Partnership Forum – there was not enough gender champions spread around to effectively influence the agenda.
  • There was strong youth presence but for the next Partnership Forum this representation should be stronger on women and girls as the youth representatives were very focused on MSM.

(b) Gender Equality, and women and girls:

  • It was clear that we need indicators and policies that measure gender in the new Strategy – such as key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure progress.
  • It will be important to have some focus also on women from concentrated epidemics and especially highlighting that issues around access are often more challenging for women and this includes not being HIV centric but also having a focus on TB and malaria.
  • GBV also was highlighted as important but this could have been stronger as it was not raised enough in different groups.
  • The challenges will be to make sure that a gender remains in the final Strategy and is well defined and to move beyond rhetoric and ensure effective implementation and good collaboration with civil society.

(c) Human Rights and Key Populations:

  • It was noted that there was not much data and voices coming from transgender women and MSM.
  • There was also a recommendation to take away the human rights and gender objective and incorporate this into other objectives. Moving forward the struggle will not be around populations but around where the resources are allocated.  We need to ensure that clear indictors are developed to ensure effective operationalisation.

(d) Recommendations for the 3rd Partnership Forum, Buenos Aires, (2 – 3 August 2015)

  • The Global Fund must ensure good representation of women and girls in all break out sessions.
  • The Global Fund must ensure better representation of youth that champion issues around women and girls and gender equality.

3. Questions and discussions from webinar participants not at the Partnership Forum

  • When will the next iteration on the Strategy be available?

The third iteration including Board input will be released this week internally for review. This will then go to the SIIC for consideration before being made public. This version should also be shared with all participants before the next Partnership Forum. The SIIC will only be meeting in early October but they are speaking monthly and are receiving papers to comment on. This is not an approval process given that it is the SIIC that makes decisions and recommendations on the Strategy to the Board.

  • Structure of pre meetings sub themes

A recommendation was made from the previous W4GF debrief meeting was that working groups around human rights and gender should be separated. The Global Fund also had concerns around this and although they are presented together the working groups were separated out at the pre meeting and as well as at the Partnership Forum itself

  • Funding methodology

Is there still opportunity for communities to input on the allocation approach and how this is done and who qualifies in the bands? There is opportunity for this as there is concurrently a process to assess and revise the allocation approach and how it is determined who funding countries receive. This is a discussion that the Board and Committees will have up until the Strategy is approved. The equitable access initiative has been tasked to delve into issues and indicators around countries accessing funding. This will be presented to the Board in March for discussion. In an ideal situation the allocation methodology (which will be an entire package) will be agreed once the strategy is finalised

  • Roll out of the new Strategy

How is the Global Fund preparing for the roll out of the new strategy given that the previous Strategy never had an operational plan? The Global Fund is starting to talk about operationalisation now and 2016 will be occupied with how to operationalise the strategy.  The CRG department is going through a process to see how they effectively operationalise the Strategy and each conversation is predicated on including civil society.

4. Next Steps and Actions

Given that the Global Fund Board is expected to endorse the Strategy in its November Board meeting – Indicators need to be discussed now till the final Strategy is endorsed at the April 2016 Board meeting. Between now and then W4GF and ICW have worked on the following:

  • An advocacy brief which to be fine tuned in preparation for the 3rd Partnership Forum, so that the concerns and issues articulated at the 2nd Partnership Forum in Bangkok are integrated. This will be translated into Spanish and Russian.
  • A brief on Community Systems Strengthening (CSS), which was raised strongly at the 1st, and 2nd Partnership Forum – which is being slightly reframed around community responses to be disseminated just before the 3rd Partnership Forum. A decision was made to keep this focused on women and girls. This will be translated into Spanish and Russian.

ICW are having a training next week for four countries from Southern Africa to increase participation of women living with HIV in Global Fund processes.  To share updates on the new Strategy and get a clear sense on how best the Global Fund can reach women living with HIV.

The Global Fund is organising a two-day meeting on 21 & 22 August in Bangkok on key populations for inputs to the Global Fund Strategy, including people and women living with HIV. The purpose will be to share the current draft and drilling down on the operationalisation and focus on the Global Funds contribution.  

The webinar was hosted by the W4GF Secretariat – Ms Rachel Ong (Global Coordinator) and Ms Sophie Dilmitis (Programme Coordinator); and attended by 13 participants – Ms Angeline Chiwetani (Widows Fountain of Life, Zimbabwe), Ms Claire Mathonsi, (Int. HIV/AIDS Alliance, South Africa/UK), Ms Florence Aman, (International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW), Kenya), Ms Liz Tremlett, (Athena Network, UK/Nepal), Ms Marama Pala (Māori, Indigenous, & South Pacific HIV & AIDS Foundation, New Zealand), Ms Marian Munyinda (Zambia NGO Coordinating Council, Zambia), Mr Martin-Mary Falana (Kids & Teens Resource Centre, Nigeria), Ms Muarine Murenga (International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW), Kenya), Ms Rebecca Matheson, (International Community of Women living with HIV (ICW), Australia/Kenya), Ms Rodelyn Marte (Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organizations (APCASO) Thailand), Ms Sindi Putri, (Indonesia AIDS Coalition, Indonesia), Susan Perez, (AIDS Strategy, Advocacy and Policy, India), Mr Vitaly Djuma (Eurasian Coalition on Male Health, Estonia). Resource people from the Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) department from the Global Fund Secretariat included Mr David Traynor (Advisor to the CRG Department), and Ms Motoko Seko (Gender Advisor).

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