Over the years, the Global Fund has developed an impressive and effective set of strategies for resource mobilization: outcomes from replenishments have increased significantly from USD$3.7 billion for 2006-2007 to USD$12.9 billion for 2017-2019. However, the Global Fund has not really ever been able to reach its target levels, a USD$20 billion gap exists in health financing and there is a perspective that we may have reached a ceiling in the level of donor funding using that known “menu” of strategies.
The Resource Mobilization Action Plan, the current plan for on-going resource mobilization at the Global Fund, suggests some actions and prospects but sets a fairly low goal for increased contributions during this 5th replenishment period. The Global Fund is undoubtedly a unique, innovative and learning organization that continues to achieve better results and more efficiencies: but that success simply does not translate into higher contributions.
At the same time, there is a generalized sense among civil society that a ceiling has been reached in terms of what can be accomplished using our current “menu” of strategies – when asked where opportunities are for increased contributions, the most common answer from civil society is: “Yes! We need more contributions…but it won’t be able to come from my country…”
As GFAN, we want to continue to expand the advocacy base that supports Global Fund resource mobilization. GFAN began in 2011 with around 30 members. Today, we have more than 480 members based in over 75 countries. And yet, finding new opportunities for increased funding still somehow feels difficult. So we have been trying to think outside the box and have held a series of conversations and meetings since the February 2017 GFAN Global Meeting to advance two conversations:
- The first is about trying to change the overall narrative about ODA
- The second is that public mobilization for the Global Fund and financing – under the right circumstances and with country-specific iterations of a global theme – is needed to inject a sense of urgency and to shake donors up from their collective (if not individual) complacency.
Our basic theory of change based on this analysis and context is that at a very basic level, politicians respond to what their citizens (voters) want or demand; therefore, an increased demand from citizens is one important way that increased levels of funding could be achieved.
In many contexts where replenishment results have been evaluated, the high-impact strategies have been shown to be the direct, sustained advocacy by a multitude of civil society and other actors (big name champions like Bill Gates and Bono for example) targeting key decision-makers and influencers. We don’t argue that point but instead seek to adjust the frame of the question: could targeted public mobilization add value to that already high-impact strategy by adding citizen voices to those who have been advocating and thereby increase demand for investment in the Global Fund?
Many assumptions of course are made here and that includes that if citizens know more about the Global Fund that they will demand more for the Global Fund (while in some contexts there are significant “anti-ODA” campaigns and leading voices). Additionally, it is generally assumed that shedding more light on the Global Fund will continue to keep the Global Fund in the positive light it enjoys within most decision-making circles in most donor countries.
We continue to work on this concept and how to bring it forward. At a recent meeting in Amsterdam, we brought two organizations with expertise in this area (Purpose and ReformAct) together with a few GFAN advocates, the GFAN Secretariat and the Global Fund Secretariat to finalize some of these discussions. Notes from that meeting can be found here.
The general conclusions from that meeting were that it is worth pursuing this theory of change in a few pilot countries that could give us examples of conditions for success for engaging a wider group of citizens in Global Fund resource mobilization. As the GFAN Secretariat, we have agreed to bring all of these conversations and technical elements, such as how to prioritize countries and what a realistic budget for doing this work would be, into an investment case to present to donors in early-mid 2018.
We’ll continue to keep members updated and look forward to more conversations in the coming months as we, as a global network, continue to pursue increased financing for the Global Fund as part of the larger goals of ending AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.