Despite the economic downturn, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is not worried about funding - just yet. But things may change in 2011, when its next three-year grant cycle begins.
For now, the Global Fund is seeking further contributions from the private sector. It hopes to have more collaborators for (RED), a program through which companies can commit a fraction of profits from the sale of certain products toward the fund's Africa AIDS initiatives.
As director of resource mobilization monitoring, evaluation and operation research, Stefan Emblad is central to efforts to expand the Geneva -based institution's funding sources. The graduate of the Stockholm School of Economics traveled back to the city in October to attend the European Development Days, where he spoke to Devex about the agency's new partnerships and expectations for the new financing cycle starting in 2011.
Most of the resources mobilized by the Global Fund come from the private sector. What countries are most supportive of your work?
Our largest funders are the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] Development Assistance Committee donors, so the sort of developed countries. The U.S. is roughly [providing] one-third of our funding. Japan is also an important contributor. France is the second largest [contributor], and the U.K. is also one of our largest donors. I think you can say basically the [donation from the] EU, the EU 15, the U.S. and Japan is the core of our contributions. And then we get about 5 percent of our overall funding … from non-government sources.
Is the Global Fund trying to increase the percentage of funds coming from non-governmental sources?
Absolutely. We are working very hard, and we will have some announcements to come in the next year in terms of new partners under the (RED) partnership - a Global Fund's partnership program with companies who contribute a portion of profits from the sale of certain products to the foundation's HIV/AIDS programs in Africa. So, there are some exciting developments there. We just had Bugaboo, a Dutch company, so one of our first mainland European companies to join. We are also launching a large campaign aimed at philanthropic giving from high-networks individuals and foundations, and we are working on our corporate champions programs. So, we are very active in that field and also in trying to find new and innovative sources of finance.
The global economic downturn of the past few years has had a negative impact on donations. Was the work of the Global Fund affected by it?
I think it is important to know that we work in three-year funding cycles, and the next one starts in 2011. So, for the previous pledges that we have received up to 2010, all of our major donors have so far respected their commitments. So, from that point of view, we have the resources that we were promised earlier. We will see what happens in 2010. Most of the countries have confirmed that they will live up to their pledges. In terms of 2011, for the next three-year cycle, we expect it to be a difficult environment. But we still haven't gone out and asked for money, so we don't know what the response will be.
Is the Global Fund going to implement any particular strategy in order to prevent a drop in resources for the next three-year funding cycle?
I think it is too early to talk about our strategy. We are certainly looking at what ways [we can prevent a reduction in resources]. We think that it will be very important to highlight the results we have achieved - the fact that we are very close to achieving a lot of the MDGs. For example, universal access to bed nets against malaria, it would be possible to reach it before 2015 if funding remained at the same level or slightly more. And I think we will highlight just the resources and the results that we have achieved. I don't want to get into more details about that at this point.