The outcomes of last week’s Global Fund Board meeting brought relief and joy. Many people, fearful that planned discussions about prioritizing and financing for the next round of funding could damage the Global Fund’s collaborative spirit, went into the meeting thinking it could be the toughest yet.
Against a tough back drop of financial uncertainty, the Board’s decision to launch Round 10 on 20 May with an innovative new fund to support programmes for marginalized populations proved to be an important step forward in the Global Fund’s maturation.
As usual, the Board meeting made for an intensely busy week with late-night gatherings proving key to working through the issues at hand. Global Fund Chair, Ethiopian Health Minister Tedros, agreed that IAS could attend the meeting as an Observer. We hope this role will continue, given the importance of the Fund’s work to our membership, who play a central role reviewing applications on the Technical Review Panels, serving on Country Coordinating Mechanisms and delivering programmes supported by the Global Fund.
Setting funding priorities is inherently about choices. In the lead-up to the meeting it looked as though the Board would face tough choices that could pit low- and middle-income countries against one another, knowing that resolution on prioritization was key to deciding whether, when and how 10 would be launched. With a cap? With a waiting list? And who would be first on that list? These questions are most acute now because with the Replenishment process kicking off, no one knows how much money will be in the bank at the start of next year – and the Fund is only allowed to make grants up to the amount of real cash it holds. More...
Recently I had the rare opportunity to address a session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs about the dearth of evidence-based HIV prevention and treatment programmes for people who use drugs and the need for scale up as a key component of achieving universal access. And it's important to note that this opportunity was rare - The Commission on Narcotics and Drugs struggles with hearing the voices of anyone but governments. I sat around waiting for my slot for nearly six hours. The voices of civil society cannot be heard until all Member States have had their chance, so every time I was ready to speak another country put up their flag and we went to the back of the queue. How very different from the reformed environment we've become used to at the Global Fund and UNAIDS. I'm told that my remarks were news to many of the diplomats present. Surprising - and depressing.
|Robin Gorna speaks during an AIDS 2010 press briefing at the Commission on on Narcotic Drugs meeting. IAS President Julio Montaner is at right. Credit: UNIS/Vienna.
My remarks to the official body follow along with video taken at the meeting by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union. It focuses on Russia's resistance to implementing evidence-based interventions for people who use drugs. The video contains footage from the AIDS 2010 press briefing we held during the CND meeting and features IAS President Julio Montaner. More...