Governance and Structure
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) operates within a broad framework of intergovernmental and interagency cooperation and participation.
The World Health Assembly (WHA), which is the primary decision-making body of WHO, provides the highest level of governance for the GPEI. The Assembly issues the resolutions that determine the scope and direction for the GPEI globally, and secures the commitment of WHO Member States to support the work of the initiative. Detailed deliberations of WHO Regional Committees and the WHO Executive Board inform the polio related discussions of the Assembly at its annual meeting.
In response to donor and stakeholder feedback, as well as the programme’s evolving needs and challenges, in December 2019, GPEI launched an internal governance review process to evaluate how to improve the partnership’s operations and structures at the leadership level (Polio Oversight Board, Finance & Accountability Committee and Strategy Committee). The result of a series of surveys, workshops, interviews and stakeholder consultations conducted over a six month period, this report outlines key issues with recommendations aimed at strengthening the programme’s governance.
Advisory and Monitoring
Advisory, monitoring and technical groups inform the decision-making of the WHO governing bodies and provide oversight for the GPEI’s managing bodies.
Technical Advisory Groups review the status of polio eradication at the country and sub-regional level, and give technical advice on local strategy, priorities and programme operations. Group membership is made up of national and international public health experts.
The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) provides technical oversight for all GPEI global policy decisions on immunization, and provides advisory and oversight on the work against Objective 2 of the Polio Endgame Plan – immunization systems strengthening and OPV withdrawal. The SAGE provides guidance to the WHA and informs the Polio Oversight Board. It is made up of acknowledged experts with a thorough understanding of immunization issues.
The SAGE Working Group on Polio advises SAGE, among other topics, on the role of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) in routine immunization following oral polio vaccine (OPV) cessation.
The Global Commission for Certification of the Eradication of Poliomyelitis (GCC) is an independent body that oversees the work of Objective 3 – containment and certification. The GCC oversees the process for certifying the world as polio-free, reviews reports of the Regional Certification Commission and will ultimately issue a report to the WHO Director-General to certify that the circulation of wild polioviruses has been interrupted globally. The GCC, supported by the Containment Working Group, also provides oversight to poliovirus containment activities, and the certification process for facilities that will retain polioviruses after eradication.
The Regional Certification Commissions (RCCs) independently verify polio eradication for their region, and provide polio eradication reports to the GCC.
The Containment Advisory Group (CAG) acts as an advisory body to the Director-General of WHO, and makes recommendations on technical issues related to the implementation of GAPIII. Meeting reports of the CAG are available here.
The Containment Working Group (CWG), under the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (GCC), reviews the national containment certification of poliovirus-essential facilities (PEFs) and make recommendations to the GCC. Its aim is to provide the required level of assurance that GAPIII requirements are appropriately identified, implemented and monitored, following the Containment Certification Scheme (CCS).
The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) independently evaluates progress towards the attainment of a polio-free world, providing independent monitoring and guidance on the work of Objective 1 of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan (Polio Endgame Plan) – the detection and interruption of poliovirus.
Membership of the IMB is made up of global experts from a variety of fields relevant to the work of GPEI.
The Transition Independent Monitoring Board (TIMB) independently monitors and guides the process of transition planning, assessing the quality, sufficiency and impact of work being undertaken to achieve the aims of transition planning.
The board represents recognized international experts in disciplines ranging from health systems, immunisations, maternal and child health, global health security, communicable diseases to change management, human resources and transition.
The Advisory Committee on Polio Eradication (ACPE) was the global technical advisory body of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and was disbanded in 2010 ahead of the formation of the Independent Monitoring Board.
National governments are the owners and the beneficiaries of the GPEI. Polio-affected countries take primary responsibility and ensure accountability for the achievement of the objectives the strategic plan, and carry out the activities detailed in their action plans. National governments in the WHO regions certified as polio-free and polio-free Member States in the three remaining polio-endemic regions play a critical role in maintaining high population immunity and sensitive surveillance for AFP (Acute flaccid paralysis). National authorities are also responsible for fully implementing internationally agreed processes to manage the long-term risks following wild poliovirus (WPV) eradication, including applying biocontainment requirements and mainstreaming polio functions as part of the legacy work.
At an operational level, oversight of the GPEI is the responsibility of the Polio Oversight Board (POB). The POB receives and reviews input from the various advisory and monitoring bodies, and operational information from the Strategy Committee. The POB’s directives are implemented through the Strategy Committee, and its various management groups.
Comprised of the heads of agencies of GPEI partners, the POB meets quarterly to provide operational oversight and ensure high-level accountability across the GPEI partnership. Donors are invited to participate in at least one meeting per year.
Under the authority of the POB, the Finance and Accountability Committee (FAC), comprised of major donors and chaired by a POB member, meets quarterly to monitor the GPEI’s financial needs, sources of funds, resources allocations and expenditures and to advise the POB on key financial issues.
The Global Polio Partners Group (PPG) serves as the stakeholder voice for the GPEI and fosters greater engagement among polio-affected countries, donors and other partners to ensure that the GPEI has the necessary political commitment and financial resources to achieve polio eradication. PPG meetings are held at the ambassadorial/senior-officials level and results are reported to the POB.
The Strategy Committee of the GPEI is an executive committee set up by the POB to oversee the management and execution of the Polio Endgame Plan. It is accountable for the achievement of programmatic objectives.
Six Management Groups report to the Strategy Committee on different aspects of the programme, with representatives from all of the partners of the GPEI. Their Terms of Reference can be found here:
Role: reviews progress of the PolioPlus programme and plans for the deployment of grant funds, primarily to WHO and UNICEF.