(HN, November 23, 2011) The high profile Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has, in a surprise move, cancelled its multi-million dollar fundraising efforts and has instigated a search for a new chief.
The Geneva-based Fund aims to save 10 million lives and prevent 140-180 million new infections from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria from 2012 to 2016. It has$4 billion in its trustee account and expects to sign grants for existing approved programs worth $10 billion for the period 2011 to 2013.
In a statement today issued in Ghana, the Fund said that in its last pledge round, in October 2010, it managed to raise only $11.7 billion, well short of the $13 billion “austerity budget” it said it needed as a minimum to continue programs already started. It had hoped to raise $20 billion.
Questionable disbursement practices by many countries, including Djibouti, Mali, Mauritania and Zambia, lost their grants or had new safeguards put in place after officials were accused of stealing. The Fund’s own inspector general exposed the fraud and earlier this month was trying to recover about $20 million that had been allegedly stolen.
The funding has its complications. Recipient country, Zimbabwe, for example, has blamed the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for delays in disbursements of Fund grants.
"The five-year strategy and transformation plan adopted at the meeting together commit the Global Fund to shift to a new funding model that focuses on investing strategically in countries, populations and interventions with high potential for impact and strong value for money,” said Fund board chair Simon Bland. “It will provide its funding in a more proactive, flexible and predictable way. It will better manage risk and it will work more actively with countries and partners to facilitate grant implementation success. In doing so, I believe the Global Fund will shift from an institution that has successfully provided emergency funding to allow countries to cope with the runaway pandemics, to become a sustainable, efficient funder of the global efforts to control them and eventually win the battle against AIDS, TB and malaria."
The fund’s board, while meeting in Accra, created a new general manager position to take some day-to-day authority from the executive director - French national and physician, scientist and diplomat, Michel Kazatchkine. His fundraising capabilities have reportedly come into question.
- HUMNEWS staff, agencies, Global Fund