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Appointment of new Global Fund director Postponed

Steve Radelet of the Center for Global Development provides an interesting overview of why the choice for the next Executive Director for the Global Fund has been postponed until April 2007. I believe there were five candidates and the board could not agree on a consensus candidate from the three finalists. Radelet’s take on it is that the system worked, that the high bar required for a candidate to win was not met. The voting rules make getting agreement difficult. Sounds like Northern donors and Southern recipients were divided, and it’s hard to find someone that has the confidence of both.

The Board consists of 20 voting members (and four non-voting ones). The Board’s by-laws (.pdf) formally divide these twenty seats into two groups of ten each: a “global north” group consisting of eight donors, one private foundation representative, and one private company representative; and a “global south” group consisting of seven recipient countries, a northern NGO, a southern NGO, and a person representing communities living with the diseases. For any proposal to pass a vote, the by-laws require a double two-thirds super majority — that is, 7 of 10 votes in each of the two groups.

I think this is something to watch in the coming years. Congress has consistently topped up President Bush’s requests for the Global Fund with additional money, but as the CGD task force on the selection process noted, the Global Fund has a number of key management issues to get a hold of as it seeks to scale up its activities. People I talked to in Washington are pretty optimistic that these are manageable, but I hope we don’t hear of some big disappointments that cause Congress to lose confidence in the institution. Among the main issues highlighted by the working group is the high turnover of staff and the workload Global Fund staff face, given the spare number of employees. This may be understandable for an organization finding its footing. Given that this is something of a new model for international service delivery, with the Global Fund as funding agency rather than implementer, let’s hope they get their act together between now and April.

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3 Responses to “Appointment of new Global Fund director Postponed”

  1. I hadn’t thought of the Global Fund as a model for service delivery.  The GF leadership selection process appears more transparent than the recent WHO selection. Although a Nov 7th post on the Lancet blog noted that even that arcane system has been improved.

  2. […] I posted recently that the Global Fund has been deadlocked over the selection of its new Executive Director. The Center for Global Development will be hosting an event later this week, Thursday December 14th from 4-6pm, with Richard Feachem, the outgoing ED of the Global Fund. Mark Dybul, the Bush Administration’s Ambassador in charge of global AIDS programs, is also on the bill, as are Steve Radelet of CGD. The Post’s Sebastian Mallaby will moderate. If you’re going to be in Washington, this could be worth checking out. […]

  3. […] At the level of advocacy, I’m impressed by this entrepreneurial model. That said, with the Global Fund still in need of an Executive Director to replace Richard Feachem, I hope all the purported good from this goodwill and optimism ultimately gets spent wisely. Laurie Garrett’s Foreign Affairs piece discusses the evidence that is emerging that donors are wasting money through too much top-heavy bureaucratic processes while some recipients countries have such graft that funds never get to the people who need it. […]