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Opinion Pieces Address Global Fund’s Future After Cancellation Of Round 11 Grants

The Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria decided to cancel Round 11 grant approval during a two-day meeting in Accra, Ghana, that concluded on November 22, according to a Global Fund press release (11/23). The following opinion pieces address this action.

  • Javier Hourcade Bellocq, Financial Times: “Developing countries are being hit first by this crisis, and international solidarity, perhaps the most precious resource needed to reach the Millennium Development Goals, the U.N.’s targets for tackling poverty, is in dangerously short supply,” Bellocq, the Latin America and Caribbean regional representative for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and a member of the Communities Delegation of the Global Fund Board, writes, concluding, “Today the world invests more in bank and currency bail-outs, as well as defense, than in health. … Losing a currency or a bank is tough, but it will be much harder to recover the value of global solidarity, a priceless good for our future” (11/30).
  • Simon Bland, Global Fund announcement: “[D]uring the week since we announced that we would not be organizing a new funding round before 2014,” “[t]he rumors of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s demise [have been] greatly exaggerated,” Bland, Global Fund Board chair, writes. He notes that the Global Fund “will disburse around $10 billion in our current funding period, between 2011 and 2013,” which is “$2 billion more than what it disbursed between 2008 and 2010.” He adds, “With the exception of one smaller country which has reduced its pledge by a few million dollars, all donors who made pledges for the 2011-2013 period have kept their pledges and have signaled that they are continuing to strive to pay in the pledges in full in the coming years.” Bland concludes, “The Global Fund has set as a goal to help save 10 million lives between today and 2016. The postponement of new funding is a setback to that goal. But with a successful transformation responding to the recommendations of the High Level Panel, and with the help of our donors, this goal is still possible” (12/1).
  • Vicky Hausman and colleagues, Financial Times: Noting the Global Fund’s cancellation of Round 11 grants, Hausman, an associate partner at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, and colleagues write, “Recovering from this setback and continuing to pursue its ambitious mission will require bold action by the Fund and significant shifts in what it requires from grant recipients, how it tracks progress and how it ensures accountability for results.” They note how mobile technology could be utilized to track data, and conclude, “The Fund was formed with the recognition that the old ways of development aid — top-down, tightly controlled efforts, steeped in bureaucratic controls and dependent on large numbers of international staff – didn’t work, and too often built programs that were poorly matched to local needs, lacked local leadership and were ultimately unsustainable. The Fund risks going down that path in the name of accountability. With more timely, robust and better-utilized bottom-up information on its supply chain and ultimate recipients, it doesn’t have to” (11/30).
  • Julio Montaner, CNN: “The global effort to combat HIV cannot afford further delays, as the magnitude and impact of the pandemic grow relentlessly,” Montaner, director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, writes, adding, “We continue to play catch-up. For every one person who starts HIV treatment, two become infected with HIV.” He concludes, “It is time to fully fund the Global Fund, so we can meet the universal access pledge and realize the goal of an AIDS-free generation. Millions of lives depend on it” (12/1).