In this edition we will share information on the Investor’s Group Meeting held in June, as well as other GFF-related updates. We hope you find it useful!
Women Deliver: From the 16–19 May, almost 6,000 people gathered at Women Deliver for the largest gathering on girls’ and women’s health and rights in the last decade. The focus of the conference was on how to implement the SDGs so they matter most for girls and women, a perfect backdrop for discussions on GFF.
In addition to the dedicated session hosted by the GFF secretariat, the GFF was discussed at the civil society sessions held at the Catalyst for Change booth. The need for greater CSO engagement in the GFF process, the importance of youth involvement in advocacy platforms and the use of scorecards for accountability were other key highlights of the advocacy exchanges.
Director to the GFF Secretariat: On the 14 June it was announced that Mariam Claeson, Director of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health team at the Gates Foundation, will serve on a two-year secondment to the World Bank as the Director to the GFF Secretariat, starting in October 2016. Mariam will focus on building partnerships and resources mobilisation while Monique Vledder will continue leading the secretariat’s day to day operations.
Investors Group: The third Investors Group (IG) meeting took place in Geneva on the evening of 23 and for a full day on 24 June. The objectives of the meeting were to:
Update IG on portfolio and detailed review of progress in the DRC
To present on complementary financing to the IG
Decide on results framework of the GFF
Decide on agenda for the GFF on Commodities for RMNCAH
Decide on process to further refine governance processes of the GFF
On 14 June GHC and PMNCH co-hosted a webinar entitled “GFF Investors Group Meeting (June 2016) Briefing”. The CS representatives of the IG, Joanne Carter and Mesfin Teklu provided an overview of the plans for the IG meeting. Mesfin provided country-level progress updates (see presentation) and Joanne noted the following:
Joanne and Mesfin would value feedback on any specific challenges that partners are facing relating to the RMNCAH platforms so that they can feed this back to the IG;
In a number of countries, IDA funding and other complementary funding has moved forward despite the fact that the investment cases are still under development;
The development of health financing strategies is often lagging behind the investment case. Gaps in technical capacity have been identified as a reason behind this.
The country guidance document, which will include recommendations on the RMNCAH is under development by the GFF secretariat.
A webinar on the same topic was held in French (see recording and presentation).
On 19 July, a debrief of the June Investors Group meeting was provided in the next set of webinars co-hosted by PMNCH and GHC (recordings are available in English and French). Mesfin and Christine Sow, who attended as an alternate, provided the following overview of the key topics discussed in the IG meeting:
Country update: Dr. Félix Kabange Numbi Mukwampa, Minister of Health from DRC provided an extensive overview of the process they have gone to develop their investment case (IC). He emphasised that the GFF, as a process, has acted as a catalyst for better collaboration and a more streamlined planning process in the DRC.
Complementary financing: The overall message from presenters (USAID, Japan, GAVI and Global Fund) is that donors are increasingly using the GFF investment case as a way of aligning country assistance.
GFF Results Framework: The GFF secretariat has been working with the WHO to ensure alignment of the GFF indicators with the Global Strategy core indicators. Feedback provided by the IG on certain problematic indicators will be reflected in the next version of the framework.
RMNCAH commodities: A task group was formed to explore whether the GFF should play a role in shaping work on RMNCAH commodities. PATH will be the civil society representative on this group.
Overall, Mesfin and Christine were really encouraged by the IG members’ interest in strengthening the role of civil society in the GFF process. In particular, they were encouraged by Mariam Claeson’s commitment to multi-stakeholder engagement and were optimistic about what this will mean when she takes up her position in the GFF secretariat in October.
Kadi Toure (PMNCH) provided an update on the GFF’s work relating to Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS), based on information provided by the GFF secretariat. The presentation provides an overview of progress by country as well as some of the challenges faced, including the prioritisation of CRVS activities given the range of investment needs and the lack of baseline data.
Country updates were not provided in the webinar itself due to time constraints but they can be found in this presentation.
WHAT ARE THE ENTRY POINTS FOR ENGAGEMENT?
Last week’s webinar highlighted a number of issues that we, as civil society, need to continue to press on as well as opportunities for engagement:
Guidance notes: The GFF country guidance note is still under development by the GFF Secretariat. As agreed by the IG in the last meeting in London, this document should reflect the draft minimum standardsfor RMNCAH to enhance participation, transparency and accountability.
Criteria for new GFF countries: Additional GFF countries will be included in a phased manner based on agreed selection criteria. It is important that civil society feeds into this process. For example, an important criterion would be the country’s commitment to an inclusive process.
Availability of up to date information: The GFF website has been significantly improved. However, there remains a need for more detailed information and documentation on country status and timelines. The civil society representatives of the IG will continue to push for this.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
IG Meetings: The dates for the next investors group meeting have been set for 3 - 4 November in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This follows from the FP2020 meeting as well as site visits and other events which will take place on the 2 November.
Nomination of CS representatives on the IG: The process for nominating new civil society representatives on the IG will be launched soon and the two representatives will be announced by the end of 2016.
CSO guide to the GFF: A guide aimed at supporting CSOs to engage in the GFF process at the national level is currently being developed by PAI with input from PMNCH and AHBN. This is due to be completed by the end of August.