An interview with the Global Fund

The Global Fund is an international organisation aimed at providing the resources needed to prevent and treat HIV, tuberculosis and Malaria. The funding is mostly contributed from governments (95% of all pledges). 

Harm Reduction plays a key part in helping prevent HIV spreading with clean needles in particular being very effective in preventing HIV infections. In this interview with Marcela Rojo (Communication Officer at The Global Fund) that relationship between harm reduction and The Global Fund is explored.

 

Does the stigma attached to drugs users and the opposition to some forms of harm reduction make donors less willing to donate?

The Global Fund has always expressed clear support to, and a willingness to invest in, harm reduction. While harm reduction remains a highly controversial issue for some countries, for other of her major donors – including DFID, AusAID and, more recently, PEPFAR – there is support for the GF position. Crucially, the Global Fund has not received any indication that donors are less willing to donate due to our policies in this area.

IDU?s(Injecting Drug Users) are a vulnerable group when it comes to HIV infections, one study suggests that one in five IDU?s  is infected with HIV. What projects is The Global Fund funding to decrease HIV risks amongst IDU?s?

The Global Fund is the largest international donor for harm reduction activities targeting people who inject drugs, and the organization has continued to explicitly support this approach as one that has been proven to be effective, value for money, and protective of human rights. Please see the Global Fund’s Information Note on Harm Reduction, which articulates the Global Fund’s position on this topic. 

The Global Fund has identified around US$ 400 million that has been invested in harm reduction approaches between Rounds 1 (2002) and 9 (2009) – mainly in countries in Eastern Europe and Asia. It is anticipated that a further US$ 80 million has also been invested through Round 10 (2010) – for which a number of final grant agreements are currently being signed. The complete data from Rounds 1 to 10 will be formally published in early 2012.

How much significance does the Global fund place in funding harm reduction projects in prisons?

As per the Information Note above, harm reduction interventions “should be implemented both in community and prison settings”.  The Global Fund will continue to support harm reduction services in prison settings.  For example, new Round 10 grants in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan both include specific services for prisoners – including needle exchange, methadone programs, and care and support upon release.

What projects are The Global Fund funding to reduce the impact of infections related to risky sexual behaviour caused be drinking too much alcohol?

As you may know, the Global Fund is not an implementing agency but a financing institution, which works with the concept of country-ownership. Therefore countries are the ones deciding which programs they require the Global Fund to support. The Global Fund currently supports a wide variety of prevention programs including the ones you mention. [For more information we enclose a paper on Global Fund grants that support reproductive and sexual health programs].

What role do young people play in projects funded by The Global Fund? What is being done to get young people involved?

At its twentieth meeting in November 2009, the Global Fund board asked constituencies and the Secretariat to consider how they could better include young people, facilitate youth-led action at global and national level and ensure that their ideas and perspectives are better reflected in the work of the Global Fund and the Board and report back to the Board within 2 years.

Since the board decision, the Civil Society team at the Global Fund Secretariat has established linkages with and offered support to youth groups, coalitions and initiatives that have the potential to strengthen youth leadership and engagement with the Global Fund.

These include:

• Assisting the Youth Coalition with the facilitation of several global and regional workshops for young activists on “Understanding the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.”  Participants are carefully selected from an open call, and are young people who have demonstrated initiative and interest and who are connected with youth-led networks or organizations.  Trainings offered in South Africa (global), Bangkok,  Panama and Addis Ababa to date.  Two of the training participants are now members of the Developing Country NGO Delegation to the Global Fund board. Others have participated for the first time in CCM elections, or engaged at country level in advocacy for youth needs and rights in the implementation of Global Fund financed programs.

• Working with Aids Accountability and the Youth Coalition to facilitate a session on youth engagement with the Global Fund as part of the Youth Summit pre-session at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna.

• Ensuring youth representation in key Global Fund consultations, including consultations around revisions to the CCM guidelines and the 2011 Partnership Forum held in Brazil, where more than 10 youth representatives took part, most representing youth-led organizations.

• Contracting the development of a Youth Guide to the Global Fund, written by a young person consulting widely with youth networks engaged in the global response to the three diseases.  The guide is now available on the Global Fund website in English and has been circulated widely to youth networks.  


Youth Representation on CCMs

As of September 2011, data from the CCM database show that 81 CCMs report some form of representation by youth-led or youth-serving organizations.  We can identify 25 youth-led NGOs and 26 NGOs specifically serving youth, while 35 CCMs report membership from youth ministries.  There are 46 cases where UNICEF and UNFPA (ML/BL) are CCM members.  Their role in-country is essential as they are best-placed to work directly with youth members on approaches to CCM membership and engagement.  Orientation and mentoring by these or other partners are particularly important to young people who may be new to formal governance bodies.


The Global Fund urges countries to “know their epidemic” in deciding who should be involved in CCMs.  This also applies within the youth population:  youth are not a homogeneous group.  For example, if injecting drug use is the main driver of the epidemic, young leaders should think about how to support the engagement of young people who use drugs.  The same applies for youth of other key affected populations.  Global youth and HIV networks do not always engage these most-at-risk populations effectively, and nor do CCMs.  Most of the youth organizations represented on CCMS are broad youth networks, not organizations working specifically with young most-at-risk groups or with young PLHIV.


Board of the Global Fund

At the board level, the Point 7 delegation has appointed their second youth delegation member, from Norway.  The Communities delegation has one member working specifically on youth issues.  The Developing Country NGOs delegation now has a total of four youth members (from youth networks or organizations), two of whom participated in one of the Youth Coalition trainings supported by the Global fund, as noted above.

See new report on young people: http://www.theglobalfund.org/documents/publications/other/Publication_YouthGuide_Guide_en

What is the short and long term aims of The Global Fund when it comes to the reduction of drug related infections?

The Global Fund has recently agreed and released a new Strategy 2012-2016, which sets ambitious goals to save 10 million lives and prevent 140-180 million new infections by the end of 2016, including a commitment to “ensure appropriate targeting of most-at-risk populations” through all activities. The Global Fund is strongly committed to continue supporting harm reduction programs.

Note that the 2011 UNGASS declaration on HIV included a specific commitment to “reducing transmission of HIV among people who inject drugs by 50 per cent by 2015”.


 

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