Although the Implementer Group is not formally part of the governance structure of the Global Fund Board, it nevertheless plays an important role at and between Board meetings. The group is made up of representatives of the 10 implementing constituencies of the Board (Eastern and Southern Africa; West and Central Africa; Eastern Mediterranean Region; Eastern Europe and Central Asia; South East Asia; Western Pacific Region; Latin America and the Caribbean; Communities; Developed Country NGOs; and Developing Country NGOs).
For each implementing constituency, the Board member and alternate, the communications focal point, and other members of their delegation can attend Implementer Group meetings.
The purpose of the Implementer Group is to strengthen implementers' participation in, and engagement with, in the Global Fund Board. The group also aims to be accountable to the people it represents by collecting their views, relaying then to the Board and providing feedback on the outcomes of the Board's deliberations.
Members of the individual constituencies review papers prepared for Board meetings and brief other members on the major issues in the papers as they affect implementers.
Prior to the 20th Board meeting in November 2009, the Implementer Group was led by either the chair or vice-chair of the Board - i.e. whichever one was nominated by the implementer constituencies. Since then, the group has elected its own chair and vice-chair.
Currently the chair is Allan Maleche, from the Developing Country NGO constituency, and the vice-chair is Nataliya Nizova, from the Eastern Europe and Central Asia constituency. Both were elected in October 2015 and will serve for two years. Although terms of reference for the Implementer Group have not yet been developed - Allan Maleche says that this is one of his priorities - there are existing TORs for the chair and vice-chair. The positions of chair and vice-chair rotate between the implementing country delegations and the NGOs/communities delegations.
The Implementer Group meets at each in-person Board meeting, usually a day or two prior to the start of the meeting. Since 2013, the group has held a retreat each year. At these meetings, the group discusses items that are on agenda of upcoming Board meetings as well as items that it would like to see added to the agenda. The Implementer Group itself does not take an official position on any issue. Nor does it try to influence its members to vote as a bloc on any issue.
In a communiqué issued after its third retreat in October 2015, the Implementer Group described the progress it had achieved in the previous year. The group said that there had been significant growth among implementers, demonstrated by increased collaboration and participation and stronger implementer group interventions in Board and committee meetings and in other consultation platforms.
The communiqué also noted improved and strengthened constituency internal operations and governance, including revision of constituency terms of reference. (The Implementer Group aims to ensure that each constituency has rules and regulations in place that governs how it elects it members and that the rules and regulations are kept up to date.)
The communiqué noted that while there had been progress in several areas, there were still challenges, including communication within and among constituencies due to language barriers; limited feedback; and inadequate resources. Other challenges listed in the communiqué include maintaining members' participation between Board meetings, spreading the workload evenly, and not having the capacity to do everything that needs to be done.
As a result of advocacy from the previous leadership of the Implementer Group, the Global Fund provides an allocation of approximately $100,000 annually to support the work of the leadership of the group. Mr Maleche told GFO that starting in 2016, he expects that this money will go directly to the constituency that hosts the chair.
The Implementer Group would like to see a resource mobilization effort to support the core functions of the group. In addition, the group successfully advocated for an increase in the annual allocation to each implementing constituency from $80,000 to $100,000. This will take effect in 2016.
Mr Maleche said that during his term as chair one of his priorities is to ensure that the interests of implementers are safeguarded during ongoing governance reform. He would also like to see improved communications among implementers and a strengthened relationship with the Board's Donor Group.