Update on Global Fund Resource Mobilization and the Seventh Replenishment Action Plan

6. NEWS
10 Nov 2021
Planning for – and managing – a tougher fiscal environment

Despite the challenging and competitive environment during 2020-2021, the Global Fund has been able to demonstrate its continued relevance. However, there has been increasing pressure on Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Development Assistance for Health budgets and significant domestic fiscal challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, as the Global Fund heads into its Seventh Replenishment campaign, it will need to be flexible and responsive to new developments and the rapidly changing landscape as these unfold.

Status of Sixth Replenishment pledge conversion

Conversion of Sixth Replenishment pledges into contributions is reported to be on track and remains an ongoing priority. As of 30 June 2021, the Global Fund had signed contribution agreements with 71% of public sector donors and 88% of private sector donors. It had secured $4.5 billion in public donor contributions in cash and $4.9 billion overall, in line with expectations for full conversion of forecast pledges.

While payment delays or defaults resulting from the COVID-19 crisis cannot be excluded, controls and mitigations on pledge conversion have been tightened and additional measures put in place as part of the Secretariat’s contingency plan. The continued support and advocacy from Board and Committee members will be critical in ensuring timely pledge conversion in addition to the mobilization of advocacy partners, including civil society organizations, communities, members of parliament, and champions.

Out of the 13 non-financial pledge partnerships, all have contribution agreements in place, 91% have ongoing workplans and 75% have started in-country or research implementation. One example is the completion of Microsoft Research’s landscaping of digital tools in the fight against tuberculosis in 13 high-burden countries which launched at the Union Conference in October 2021.

Results and lessons learned from the C19RM fundraising effort

Since the establishment of the COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM), the Global Fund has raised an unprecedented amount of additional funding of nearly $4 billion, compared to the previous level of $232 million raised between the Fifth and Sixth Replenishment Conferences. These efforts were aided by: (a) the launch of a dedicated mechanism (C19RM) to channel additional resources; (b) the Global Fund’s leading role in joint resource mobilization efforts with Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) partners and integrating the Global Fund ask within a broader global health partnership-wide appeal: (c) adapting approaches to donor engagement and advocacy to a virtual environment; and (d)

continuing to proactively position and communicate the Global Fund’s programs and role in the global COVID-19 response.

In 2020, the Global Fund secured a total of $259 million in contributions from donors for C19RM, allowing the Global Fund to sustain its support to countries beyond the initial funding envelope of $500 million. This included new pledges from Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, and Sweden. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Foundation pledged $1.5 million, which unlocked a further $1.5 million from an anonymous donor and signalled its intention to build a longer-term strategic partnership with the Global Fund.

In 2021, as part of their support to ACT-A, Germany pledged an additional €140 million, the Netherlands committed €12 million, and Switzerland confirmed a contribution of CHF Fr.50 million to C19RM. Additionally, with the adoption of the American Rescue Plan Act, the United States committed $3.5 billion in support of the Global Fund. In total, additional pledges have reached nearly $4 billion over 2020 and the first half of 2021.

Overview of Seventh Replenishment Action Plan

The primary focus of the Seventh Replenishment Action Plan over 2021-2022 is to maximize the success of the Seventh Replenishment process. This will culminate in the final pledging conference in the third quarter of 2022, as the pledges secured as well as the commitments of in-kind contributions and domestic resources announced during the campaign will enable the achievement of the Global Fund targets for the first three years of the next Global Fund Strategy period (2023-2028). While the underlying model, key principles, and core activities of the replenishment process remain unchanged, maximizing the chances of success in the Seventh Replenishment implies adjusting and adapting the Secretariat’s approach to the challenging and rapidly evolving context.

The plan comprises several pre-launch activities and eight key Seventh Replenishment priorities.

The Secretariat has been working on several initiatives to prepare the ground for the Seventh Replenishment, raise awareness and boost visibility for the Global Fund among key audiences and differentiate the unique role of the organization in the global health sector including:

  1. The Global Fund brand refresh, launched in June, leverages the Global Fund’s impact record and diverse stakeholder base and aims to position the organization for success in a rapidly changing world. Without changing the essence and core values of the Global Fund, the refreshed brand updates the Global Fund’s visual identity to ensure it reflects the vibrancy of the partnership and adapts it to current and emerging digital platforms;
  2. The Global Fund’s 20th Anniversary campaign, also launched in June at the UN High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, brings the Global Fund’s refreshed brand to life, and showcases two decades of impact through inspiring stories and achievements from across the partnership;
  3. The development of the technical components of the Investment Case for the Seventh Replenishment has also kicked off. The first Modelling Guidance Group meeting was held on 27 and 28 April with broad partner participation, when the overall approach to disease modelling was endorsed by partners. Key stakeholders also provided input on additional analytical work to be undertaken to complement the disease modelling as well as updates on the respective global plans;
  4. Nurturing of the advocacy network and ensuring stakeholders know what the Global Fund has been doing and why. Over 2020-2021, regular calls and briefings were carried out with advocacy partners to ensure regular exchange and updates on the roll-out of the Global Fund’s role in the global COVID-19 response and the growing threat that disruption due to COVID-19 represents to HIV, TB, and malaria programs; and
  5. The Secretariat also embarked on the transformation of its external relations and communications functions, which were merged under a single business unit ― the External Relations and Communications Division (ERCD) ― in June 2020.

 

Its priorities for launching a successful campaign and resource mobilization effort include:

  1. Executing a comprehensive and well-coordinated Seventh Replenishment campaign anchored around the replenishment conference in the second half of 2022 and a preparatory meeting earlier in the year;
  2. Building on the technical work currently being undertaken, developing a compelling narrative for the investment case and campaign;
  3. Mobilizing support through a dynamic, creative and robust replenishment communications campaign that builds on the brand refresh and 20th Anniversary campaign while also highlighting key thematic priorities and is supported by differentiated communications strategies across prioritized donor markets from now to the third quarter of 2022;
  4. Ensuring targeted engagement and excellent relationship management with public donors, including the host country, to sustain and increase contributions;
  5. Ensuring targeted engagement and excellent relationship management with private sector partners, to sustain and continue to grow new donors and partners to the Global Fund;
  6. Demonstrating the catalytic effect of the Global Fund on domestic resource mobilization by enhancing the Global Fund’s overall engagement on health financing and maintaining an ambitious approach to domestic co-financing; and
  7. Expansion of partnerships with multilateral development banks to leverage co-investment and crowd in additional resources for health and the three diseases.

 

[Note: (h) is omitted here as it was incomprehensible.]

Risk management and resourcing

The current volatile environment increases the likelihood and impact of inherent risks to the Global Fund’s resource mobilization activities. With respect to the replenishment and fundraising for the Global Fund itself, some of the most critical risks include:

  1. A negative shift in sentiment towards the Global Fund amongst major donors, whether due to shifts in national politics or international priorities, fatigue with the three diseases, reprioritization of allocations within health and vis-à-vis other Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) priorities, or reductions in ODA more generally as a result of budgetary pressure or domestic politics;
  2. Perceived underperformance of the Global Fund, particularly with relation to the Strategy 2017-2022 targets and the C19RM, concerns about the absorption of funds, or misunderstanding and misperceptions related to the Global Fund performance model;
  3. Perceived de-prioritization or lack of responsiveness by the Global Fund to issues of concern/priority to donors (for e.g., Pandemic Preparedness and Response (PPR), Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health (RSSH), human rights and gender equality, geographic focus areas, climate change and the environment, Protection from Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH), etc.);
  4. Mismanagement or misuse of funds in Global Fund-supported programs or any other issue that may result in damage to the Global Fund’s reputation or credibility;
  5. Competition for resources with other existing/new institutions or new priorities;
  6. Tension between multilateral and bilateral funding options in key donor countries;
  7. Over-reliance on too narrow a funding base;
  8. Increased competition for, as well as major demands, for pandemic preparedness, COVID-19 mitigation and recovery funding, for private sector donors;
  9. Significant disruption to travel, staff availability and events planning due to COVID-19 related restrictions and mitigation measures; and
  10. Underinvestment in resource mobilization activities leading to inadequate engagement of key decision-makers and influencers, or weak advocacy through civil society or the media.

The Secretariat has put in place measures to mitigate and address these risks, as far as they are in its control, both within the external relations and communications function and in other parts of the Secretariat.

Stakeholder comments

At the Board meeting, constituency representatives expressed their appreciation for the work going on regarding resource mobilization and planning for the Seventh Replenishment. They understand that mobilizing funds is going to be more challenging than ever. In that context, they pointed to two concerns that they feel need watching carefully. First, there is increasing reliance on domestic resource mobilization (DRM). This is considered to be a very risky area next year, and plans need to be in place at the country level to deal with situations where there is a downturn in DRM. Second, next year there will be the extension of efforts to raise funding for the C19RM (to end September 2022) as well as the conference to secure pledges for the Seventh Replenishment.  While the financing for C19RM and the Seventh Replenishment occur at different times, donors will be lobbied for both during 2022 and this could affect donors’ perceptions and/or their willingness to commit record sums in the same period of uncertainty.


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