SPC and Global Fund to continue working together
The SPC and the Global Fund reach an agreement on an interim funding arrangement for programmes to combat AIDS, STIs, TB, and Malaria.
The secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have agreed on transitional funding for programmes through to the end of 2015.
The Fund is providing US$5 million in a interim arrangement to support programmes that are already happening, ahead of more long-term plans being put in place.
The SPC's director general, Dr Jimmie Rodgers, told Don Wiseman the assistance will go to 11 Pacific nations.
JIMMIE RODGERS: It covers HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. It will be for the 11 countries that currently participate under the Asia-Pacific Regional Co-ordination Mechanism. SPC is currently the principle recipient for that mechanism, so the fund will come through SPC. But, importantly, we are developing a proposal that can identify how the fund is actually going to be utilised in each of the participating countries and the components that will be provided regionally. There was concern that should funding come to an end this year, that if there was more transition mechanism, then people who are actually on treatment with antiretroviral drugs may actually suffer. So this funding ensures that, at least for the next two years, they will continue to seek treatment. And in the next two years, of course, when the new rounds of funding are announced, the Pacific region can then decide to engage in putting further proposals forward for more extensive funding.
DON WISEMAN: Will the SPC be involved in that, because at one point you were going to withdraw from your association with the Global Fund, weren't you?
JR: That's right. Two years ago, our governing body made a decision that due to the increase in fiduciary requirements by the Global Fund, and the increasing requirements were not because the Pacific was not doing well, it was because some of the countries who received a lot larger grants, they had problems in reporting against the expenditures. The Global Fund is a global financing mechanism, so one rule applies to all. As a consequence, for Pacific Island countries and territories, where the amount of money is very small and fiduciary requirements were so high, it's not worth an international organisation in the Pacific in a sense becoming liable, if you like, for funds that we are not directly responsible for implementing, although we are responsible for reporting them. That is the money intended for Pacific countries that (Indistinct). To cut a long story short, we had a major review last year. Countries who were members of the SPC were very strong in their input because of a view that the SPC needs to retain a kind of function on the grounds of management. So the review recommended that and our governing body has approved that last year, which effectively reversed the decision earlier. So we will continue if the countries would like us to receive and manage funds on behalf of the other countries that are yet not able to manage their own resources. So I guess the question really then becomes, in new funding rounds, if the Pacific countries would like us to be the principle recipient we would be able to do that. But the major question is even if we were not the principal recipients, we would actually still work with the Pacific countries to develop their financing proposals, because that's part and parcel of our core businesses, to help them secure resources.
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