Notes from W4GF Webinar to prepare for the 3rd Partnership Forum

A webinar was organised and hosted by W4GF on 18 August 2015 for W4GF advocates and partners to prepare for the upcoming 3rd Partnership Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 3 – 4 September 2015.

11 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:

  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Overview of the civil society Pre-Meeting & Partnership Forum Agenda (including role of communities & civil society during Partnership Forum)
  • Key Learning from previous Partnership Forums
  • Current Overview of the Strategic Framework
  • Key Priorities on women and girls that are missing and developing key messages
  • Next Steps and Closing


1.    Overview of the civil society Pre-Meeting & Partnership Forum Agenda (including role of communities & civil society during Partnership Forum  

Key objectives of the pre meeting are to:

  • Strengthen conceptual and practical understanding of current and emerging Global Fund strategic priorities and practices to influence the development of the Global Fund 2017-2021 strategy both during the Partnership Forum and in the following months during which the Strategy will be developed.
  • Identify community and civil society core priorities with the Global Fund 2017-2021 Strategy.
  • Outline primary opportunities to raise strategy-related issues prioritized by civil society in the Partnership Forum through the provision of an overview of the current strategy, critical issues under discussion, and an orientation of the Partnership Forum structure and aims
  • Strengthen the capacity of civil society and relevant community actors across the different regions to effectively engage in the Global Fund processes.

The two-day pre meeting (taking place just before the Partnership Forum) creates space for civil society to learn as much as they can about the Strategy – sharing across the regions how issues being discussed around the Strategy directly impact communities. The pre meeting provides space to develop key messages for the Partnership Forum and is structured through plenary and breakout groups around the Strategy areas, which are:

  1. Gender
  2. Human rights and Key Populations
  3. Health Systems Strengthening
  4. Community Systems Strengthening
  5. Challenging Operating Environments
  6. Priorities for the three diseases
  7. The Funding Model

The focus for this final Partnership Forum will be to distill and synthesise recommendations and key messages from the previous Partnership Forum including all previous consultations from the Board on the Strategy development.

The CS pre-meeting will start with key recommendations made by civil society from previous and work from these. Given the regions that will be represented (Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA)), the majority of the discussions will centre around sustainability and transition, and how each of the identified strategy areas would be affected.

This Partnership Forum will be challenging given the different languages spoken (Russian, Spanish, and English) so simultaneous translations will be provided during the CS pre-meeting and the Partnership Forum (during plenary and during the eight breakout groups). As there is no capacity for translations in each one of the eight breakout groups, attendees will be grouped together according to the languages that they can speak, rather than only according to their interest/expertise in subjects.


  • Participants invitation process and ensuring representation

How are people invited to the Partnership Forum and given that pre meetings compete for attention, how does the Global Fund ensure key people are represented?

For each of the three Partnership Forums there has been a nomination and selection process governed by the Global Fund Board through the Strategy Impact and Investment Committee (SIIC) who make final decisions on participants. 52 participants have been selected for the pre meeting – 23 of which were elected through an open call from 360 applications received. The SIIC decided on 23 and the remainder are nominated internally by Fund Portfolio Managers, grant management and external relations. In terms of ensuring diversity of stakeholder the SIIC is responsible to ensure young people, representation from across the three diseases and gender balance.

  • Pre meeting themes

The themes discussed in the pre meeting mirror the Partnership Forum. During the pre meeting (depending on what the group decides) discussions are structured to obtain the best outcomes, as some Strategy objectives are more progressed then others.

Consultations and key papers around the Strategy have been produced by the Communities Delegation with Global Fund Advocates Asia-Pacific partnersCommunities Delegation with EHRN and EECA Networks; Eurasian Coalition on Male Heath; The Stop TB Partnership meeting held in Istanbul last month; the W4GF Advocacy brief on women and girls; ICW/W4GF produced a CSS Brief on community responses and women and girls; the Alliance survey from LAC on the Strategy will be used and there was a prevention meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil which addresses the Strategy and informal consultations in the Caribbean.

2.    Key opportunities for civil society

At the Bangkok Partnership Forum, several side meetings were organised together with the Vice Chair of the Board (Ms Aida Kurtovic) and Chair of the SIIC (Mr David Stevensons). The Global Fund will share the participant’s list during the pre meeting and support civil society to arrange side meetings, which mostly happen during the Partnership Forum (lunch breaks) and are dependant on schedules and availability.

Ms Mirta Roses, LAC Board member (also on the SIIC) and Ms Sandra Elisabeth Roelofs her counterpart from Central Asia will be there. These two women are important as they make recommendations to the Board on the final Strategy. Other important donors Board members are the United Kingdom (critical constituency to discuss issues of transition and sustainability as well as gender). Whilst they support a high prioritisation around gender they oppose support to middle income countries (MIC), which also affects women and girls. The Gates representative and the US government will also be there and are important to speak with.

There is also an opportunity for civil society to speak at the opening plenary. Due to not enough gender champions existing in each of the breakout groups – speaking out during the Partnership Forum plenary and ensuring key messages are heard is essential if issues such as gender are not mentioned.

3.    Key Learning from previous Partnership Forums

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. Please click here to access the slide deck presented.

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.

A two-day pre-meeting of community and civil society was convened by the Global Fund Community Rights and Gender (CRG) Department on May 22 – 23, 2015 with approximately 57 civil society members of which only 25 attended the 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 the Communities Delegation to the Global Fund Board, GFAN AP, 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.
  • Further invest in and monitor funding for community systems strengthening and community responses and develop clear/consistent indicators to measure those investments
  • 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 free trade agreements that limit availability of affordable medicines
  • Ensure responsible, long-term transition planning, and sustainable exit strategies for MIC, with a focus on Community Systems Strengthening (CSS) and community responses
  • Greater recognition and resourcing of community and civil society across Global Fund processes (from Country Coordinating Mechanisms to program monitoring to advocacy).

On gender there is 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 effect change where it needs to happen. How will this commitment to gender be operationalised and not remain just policy? There is a similar commitment to maintaining human rights but to bolster the key performance indicators that support this. Although key populations are noted in the draft Strategy there is not enough substance to support this making key populations a comparatively weak area. The Global Fund is convening a meeting in the next couple of days in Bangkok to address this.

The Draft July 2015 Strategic Framework (9th version) includes the following strategic objectives – this will be made available to meeting participants:

  • Invest to End Epidemics
  • Build Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health
  • Respect and Promote Human Rights and Gender Equality
  • Mobilize Increased Resources and Public Goods for Health

Although there are still gaps and weaknesses this Strategy has positively evolved and there are still opportunities for input before the final SIIC meeting on October 7th where they meet to make a final recommendation to the Board. Before the next Partnership Forum an updated version that includes input from the most recent Board retreat will be released.

a.   Questions and discussion:

  • From the Board retreat (end of July) there was a strong push by some donors and Board Delegations including the Communities Delegation for clearer language around women and girls especially in Objective 3b Invest to reduce gender and age-related disparities in health” that speaks to more investments in women and girls and gender.
  • Around transitioning and investments related to women and girls and key populations – While some donors are against continuing support to MIC we need a strong message on how this would affect women and girls and key populations in these countries – We must not loose the gains and investments made whilst the Global Fund transitions out of countries.
  • Most governments across the Global Fund Portfolio don’t report on disaggregated data. The information that they do get is from large countries, and in the instance of LAC would be from Argentina, Mexico, Columbia and Brazil. And because the epidemic is low on the data, the information on women and girls also inaccurately depicts low numbers except when they include transgender women, or in specific locations, and then the picture changes. We need to think about locations or hot spots and how this could change things. If we look at overall numbers around women they are low but if you look at specific hot spots the picture changes – This is something for us to think about and continue to discuss in terms of sustainability. Under Strategic Objective 1 “Invest to End Epidemics: Tailored investments will maximize impact, when based upon country needs and status on the development continuum and 1b “Evolve the allocation model and processes for greater impact, including regional and sub-national approaches tailored to country needs” there are conversations around focus and there is traction around this. Another example of this was given – in El Salvador under the Global Fund grant they need to work in a number of cities but under PEPFAR grants are only to support work in the capital city. These will be some of the hot regional issues discussed at the Partnership Forum.

4.    Next Steps and Closing

  • Participants were urged to read the W4GF/ICW Advocacy Brief on Gender as well as on CSS and the Global Fund will share other statements
  • Webinar Participants were urged to visit the W4GF website and read notes from the previous two debrief webinars from the 1st and 2nd Partnership Forum.

The webinar was hosted by the W4GF Secretariat – Ms Rachel Ong (Global Coordinator) and Ms Sophie Dilmitis (Programme Coordinator); and attended by 8 participants – Ms Alejandra Trossero, (UNDP and one of the Partnership Forum Facilitators), Ms Mabel Bianco – (Member of the Developing Country NGO Delegation from Argentina), Ms Erika Castellanos (C Net Belize) Belize, Ms Julia Greenburg (the Fremont Center – Facilitating the pre meeting at the Partnership Forums), Ms Nona Turusbekova (consultant from Kirgizstan based in the Netherlands and a steering group member of the TB Europe coalition and a member of the advosiory group to the Community Rights Gender team),  Ms Olimbi Hoxhaj (Albanian Network of people living with HIV – and Board member for European AIDS treatment group), Ms Rodelyn Marte (Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organizations (APCASO) Thailand )and Mr Rico Gustav. Resource people from the Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) department from the Global Fund Secretariat included Mr David Traynor (Advisor on policy and strategy to the CRG Department), and Ms Motoko Seko (Gender Advisor).

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