Learning from the global fund

One may well wonder, what could the climate change debate possibly learn from other fields?  ECO looked around a bit and discovered some interesting things about the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The recent replenishment meeting of the Global Fund ended earlier this week in New York.  And despite the lingering recession in many parts of the world economy, the respective contributions resulted in pledges of $11.7 billion over the next three years, an increase of 20% compared to 2008-2010. That is good news and shows that the international community is still able to take action when urgent global challenges have to be addressed.

Of particular note for the climate debate is that the Global Fund is the pioneer in direct access. Donors seem to trust its approach, which so far has financed programmes in 140 countries. The United States is #1 among donors and has pledged $4 billion for the next period.

Furthermore, the Global Fund has some innovative institutional features which ECO thinks should be considered in the setup of the new climate fund. 

First, the Fund itself is an administratively autonomous international financing institution, with its own Secretariat based in Geneva. The only formal link to an existing institution is that the World Bank serves as Trustee.  The Global Fund was set up very quickly, with the Secretariat being established six months after the principal decision to establish the Fund, and the first grants were approved three months later.

On the national level, multi-stakeholder country coordinating mechanisms are the key players. These include the government and stakeholders such as NGOs, scientists and the private sector. This is an instructive example given the diverse responses that climate change will require on all levels of society in developing countries.

On the international level, the Fund is steered by a board composed of 20 voting members –  14 from governments/regional organisations and one each for the private sector, private foundations, developing country NGO, developed country NGO, and a representative from local communities. Representatives from international organisations are members of the Board without voting rights. It is a global partnership to
address a true global challenge.

Of course, the climate fund can’t just be a copy of the Global Fund. For one thing, the scale of climate resources must very soon be significantly higher than the $3 billion a year in the Global Fund budget. 

In order to fully prepare for the future, one must learn from the past. For instance, the US proposal, supported to some degree by other countries, that would set up the climate fund as a kind of reinvention of the GEF, does not do so.  Instead, the future climate architecture should take note of lessons like those offered by the Global Fund.

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