The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) is an international financing mechanism. Established in 2002, the Global Fund works in partnership with governments, civil society and technical partners to provide additional finance to ensure that effective programmes are implemented to advance responses to these three diseases.
The Global Fund is an innovative partnership where implementers and donors share responsibility for delivering the work, and civil society plays a central role. Because it is a financing instrument, not an implementing entity, the Global Fund does not directly administer programmes. Rather, it provides funding to local and national partners who work with experts to implement programmes. The Global Fund Secretariat, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is responsible for managing grants in line with the Global Fund’s strategy and founding principles. Core principles are country ownership, performance-based funding, and partnership.
Country ownership is an important principle (promoted across much development financing) stressing that decisions about how to use funds should be made by the countries receiving those resources. This means that proposals submitted for funding should reflect a country’s own priorities. The Global Fund takes care to emphasise that this is about country priorities, not government: the country includes civil society among the partners making decisions.
Performance-based funding refers to a process in which funds are disbursed only if grants are performing well. Monitoring and evaluation are therefore critical components of the Global Fund process, since funds can only be released if there is evidence that there is an impact from this additional finance.
Partnership is a cornerstone of the Global Fund which stresses that this is not a “donor-recipient” relationship, but rather a partnership among governments, development agencies, civil society, the private sector and affected communities. Governments and others (foundations, the private sector) that financially support the Fund (donors) and those that benefit from it and implement programmes (implementers) are considered equal partners. The Global Fund governance structures reflect this with equal numbers of donors and implementers on the Global Fund Board, and a partnership of all sectors on country coordinating mechanisms (CCMs). Civil society, community groups, and people living with and affected by the three diseases play an important role in influencing policies and funding decisions, alongside donors and technical partners.
As of 2013, the Global Fund since its establishment has disbursed a cumulative total of some $18 billion through more than 1,000 grants in 150 countries and territories. The Global Fund estimates that its supported programmes have resulted in more than 4 million people receiving antiretroviral HIV treatment, some 10 million people receiving TB treatment, and more than 300 million insecticide-treated bed nets being distributed.
2013 is a replenishment year. The Global Fund has set a target of US$15 billion to finance programmes over the next three years (2014-2016). The aim is to support programmes that will seize new advances in science and apply practical experience to defeat the three diseases and remove them as threats to public health.
Substantial changes have recently taken place in the Global Fund, and a new approach to supporting countries is being brought in. This is known as the new funding model (NFM); it is intended to deliver predictable resources in a more targeted way, and to align funding cycles with the needs of countries, rather than the previous “Rounds”-based system where applications were made once a year.