Doris Herrera Pol steps down after eight years on IFFIm’s Board

Doris Herrera Pol steps down after eight years on IFFIm’s Board

20 December 2023

Doris Herrera Pol wraps up three terms and eight years on the IFFIm Board of Directors on 31 December.

Doris Herrera Pol wraps up three terms and eight years on the IFFIm Board of Directors on 31 December. Doris has been involved with IFFIm since its 2006 launch when she was Director of Funding at the World Bank and traveled around the world to present the new concept to investors, later working around the clock to price IFFIm’s very first US$ 1 billion vaccine bond. During her service, she has helped guide IFFIm, promoting funding at efficient levels and expanding the diversity of IFFIm’s markets. She has helped IFFIm actively promote Gavi’s mission and has been a champion for Gavi and IFFIm diversifying and expanding. We invited her to share some of her experiences as she prepares for life after IFFIm.

How has IFFIm changed since the day you took it to the market 17 years ago?

As I see it, IFFIm has a proven track record as one of the most versatile multilateral finance mechanisms ever developed. 

IFFIm was conceived and designed to efficiently frontload long-term pledges from then mostly triple-A sovereign donors. It does this by tapping the capital markets in anticipation of the incoming payments from those pledges. IFFIm has enabled Gavi to accelerate vaccination and immunisation programmes, and to help reduce the cost and expand the availability of vaccines by signaling to the market that it could support long-term demand. 

Through the years, IFFIm has fulfilled these objectives and many other different functions for Gavi, as it adapted to changing global public health challenges. Here are some examples of its versatility beyond engaging the original sovereign donors and the capital markets to accelerate funding for vaccination and immunisation programmes:

  • IFFIm has been able to accommodate new donors and renew and increase its asset base consistently, with donors’ strong support. It also has continued to fund cost-effectively despite changes in its donors’ credit rating landscape and its own ratings. IFFIm has been able to add new instruments to its toolkit, such as its guarantee facility to back Gavi’s long-term vaccine procurement contracts.
  • Along the way, IFFIm also supported the introduction of new vaccines, like pentavalent and HPV, as these have been introduced.
  • IFFIm funding at times has been backloaded as Gavi needed to better manage its donor cashflows and generate financial efficiencies.
  • Last but not least, IFFIm has stepped up to fulfill additional immunisation-related mandates. The first such mandate, in 2019, was to provide financial support—as a Gavi programme—to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI). Then in 2021, several donors came together swiftly to support the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and used IFFIm to support the funding needs of the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (or AMC), a fund that developed and procured COVID-19 vaccines for lower-income countries during the pandemic.

Now, IFFIm is working on a contingent financing mechanism to be able to, as swiftly as possible, support future pandemic preparedness efforts. 

In sum, it is obvious that the investment in IFFIm by sovereign donors has yielded a huge positive return in terms of impact and scope, and that over the last 17 years IFFIm has been able to meet both anticipated and unanticipated needs and challenges in a surprisingly versatile way. 

What do you think is next for ESG markets and impact investments like IFFIm?

The ESG market has experienced remarkable growth over the last decade, and I expect that it will continue to further expand in decades to come as the spotlight grows on global environmental and social challenges. There will of course be hiccups along the way, especially if there is not sufficient progress to harmonise the ESG market regulations and protocols, taxonomies and definitions, reporting requirements and ratings criteria, and/or if the market were to be discredited by unchecked greenwashing. 

For IFFIm and other social bond issuers, as well as for green and sustainability bond issuers, my advice is to stay transparent and true to your mission, to maintain an ESG market reputation that is as pristine as possible.

Is there anything else you want to talk about?

I have been on IFFIm’s Board for eight years, and prior to this at the World Bank Treasury I was affiliated with IFFIm since the World Bank was awarded IFFIm’s Treasury Manager mandate in late 2005. I want to recognise the excellent partnership that IFFIm has had with Gavi and the World Bank throughout this time.

I have nothing but praise for Gavi’s leading role in making tremendous strides in improving lives and reducing child mortality in poor countries. The Gavi board, the Gavi Chairs, and Gavi management and staff with whom I have had the pleasure to work through the years have all been incredibly motivated, dedicated and indefatigable. 

At the same time, IFFIm wouldn’t have existed, and flourished as it has, without the tremendous backing of many World Bank colleagues for whom IFFIm’s mission resonates deeply.

Doris Herrera-Pol and Ken Lay during the Raising Generation ImmUnity Conference, June 2023.
Doris Herrera-Pol and Ken Lay during the Raising Generation ImmUnity Conference, June 2023.


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