October 23, 2020 – Country and international partner representatives of the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) met for their bi-annual governance meetings this week and agreed to reaffirm their shared commitment and step up efforts over the next five years to ensure that all women, children and adolescents can survive and thrive. This comes as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to turn back years of global progress in maternal and child health.

The GFF Investors Group (IG) and Trust Fund Committee (TFC)* endorsed the updated GFF strategy for 2021-2025, building on the strong results of GFF’s first five years to set this foundation for the next five years. The updated strategy will strengthen GFF’s country-led partnership model and impact, with increased focus on bolstering country leadership, advancing equity and gender equality, reimagining frontline service delivery, building more equitable health financing systems and a maintaining a relentless focus on results.

Other decisions made during the three-day virtual meetings, many of which were designed to mitigate the COVID-related disruptions of essential health services and support GFF partner countries to get back on track and accelerate progress on women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health as soon as possible, included:

  • Endorsement of a common framework among GFF partners to improve shared accountability for health financing and support countries in building stronger and more equitable health financing systems. This approach is critical as countries confront growing fiscal pressures and competing budget priorities during COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
  • Approval of an updated GFF-CSO and youth engagement framework to strengthen and effectively leverage CSO and youth engagement and advocacy to improve the health of women, children and adolescents. Specifically, the TFC approved the US$6 million initiative to enhance CSO engagement in GFF partner countries to embed, institutionalize and scale up support for community engagement at country level with a concrete set of solutions for amplifying voices and participation in policy, advocacy and accountability.
  • Partners also expressed strong support for the GFF’s unique role in the global COVID-19 response: to support partner countries to protect and promote essential health services and strengthen frontline health systems, and to get back on track and accelerate progress on women’s, children’s and adolescent’s health as soon as possible.
  • Partners also provided guidance to the GFF Secretariat on operationalization of the GFF’s updated strategy and urged all partners to ensure the GFF has the political and financial support it needs to accelerate strategy implementation. TFC members discussed the preliminary case for investment and resource mobilization needs for the GFF for the next five years and instructed the GFF Secretariat to fully develop and send the case for investment to the TFC for approval before the end of 2020.

“By empowering countries to lead, the GFF enables partners to achieve more by working better together. The GFF’s country-led approach is already making meaningful differences to improve the lives of women, children and adolescents in our partner countries. With the endorsement of the new strategy, the GFF is uniquely positioned to support countries to achieve better health outcomes for women, children and adolescents, and I am delighted to join as co-chair as the GFF doubles down on its mandate to advance health equity,” said Honorable Prof. Léonie Claudine Lougue Sorgho, GFF Co-Chair and Minister of Health, Burkina Faso.

“There has never been a more important moment for the global community to double down on its commitment to save lives and improve the health of women, children and adolescents. As progress on global health is in peril, now more than ever we need the GFF’s laser focus on protecting and promoting essential health services for the most vulnerable populations. As one of its founding members, Canada strongly supports the GFF as it reimagines traditional models of development to align partners around country-led plans and delivers on the promise to close health equity gaps,” said Joshua Tabah, Co-Chair, GFF and Director General for Global Health, Global Affairs Canada.

“The role of the GFF is more critical than ever, working in partnership with the World Bank IDA to help partner countries protect essential health services and strengthen primary care systems to prepare for the equitable, safe and affordable delivery of COVID vaccines and help close equity gaps for women, children and adolescents,” said Annette Dixon, Chair, GFF Trust Fund Committee and Vice President, Human Resources, World Bank Group.

“With the strong endorsement of the strategy from our partners and donors, the GFF is primed and ready to double down on its efforts to ensure equitable access for women, children and adolescents to quality lifesaving health services. We are humbled to stand side-by-side with our country partners on the frontlines, working closely with global health financiers, the World Bank Group, the United Nations, bilateral donors, foundations, civil society and private sector,” said Muhammad Pate, GFF Director and Global Director for Health, Nutrition, Population at the World Bank.

* The broad set of partners that comprise the GFF—including governments, civil society organizations, the private sector, UN agencies, Gavi, and the Global Fund and private foundations—come together regularly at the global level through the GFF Investors Group (IG). The IG plays a key role in supporting and fostering alignment and coherence at country level for the GFF partnership. The GFF Trust Fund is governed by the Trust Fund Committee (TFC), which comprises representatives of the World Bank and donors that contribute to the GFF Trust Fund. The TFC is the main decision-making body of the GFF Trust Fund and its responsibilities include deciding which countries are eligible as recipients of the GFF Trust Fund and defining the funding approaches that guide the support of the GFF Trust Fund to countries. The TFC draws advice from the Investors Group.