New Global Fund strategy puts communities at the centre

New Global Fund strategy puts communities at the centre

Following a two-year consultative process, the Global Fund has launched its new Strategy for 2023-2028, Fighting Pandemics and Building a Healthier and more Equitable World. The Love Alliance welcomes the central role of communities of people living with HIV and key populations in this new Strategy. More than ever, it is key that we build resilient health systems, where strong communities lead, deliver services, are well resourced, and can advocate for their needs. 

The Love Alliance has actively engaged in the process to ensure our priorities of community leadership, human rights, and gender equality are reflected in the Strategy. We participated in the  Global Fund Partnership Forums, submitted four position papers on the Strategy ahead of key Global Fund Board meetings, and co-hosted two webinars with the Global Fund Board Communities delegation. We consistently advocated for the urgent need for direct community funding, a renewed focus on key populations and vulnerable groups, and prioritising health equity, gender equality, and human rights objectives.

What we love about the new Global Fund Strategy

New aspects of the Strategy will catalyse the Global Fund’s efforts in the HIV response, many of them advocated forby the Love Alliance.

Chief among them is that communities are at the core of all Global Fund work, recognising the vital role communities play in the HIV response. We also welcome the intensified focus on human rights, including leveraging the Global Fund’s diplomatic voice to remove legal and social barriers. We are especially supportive of the Global Fund’s commitment to challenging inequities, human rights, and gender-related barriers to services including stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation of people living with HIV and key populations.

Funding for communities and key populations

For communities to truly be at the centre of the Global Fund’s work, it requires addressing the funding gap for communities. Less than 2% of HIV funding for 2016 to 2018 went to key populations even though key populations accounted for over half of all new HIV infections.[1]

The Strategy includes a commitment to accelerate the evolution of Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) and community-led platforms to strengthen inclusive decision-making, oversight, and evaluation in Global Fund processes. However, current power inequalities within CCMs, where community and key populations representatives often have “a seat at the table, but not a say”, mean that communities and key populations need direct funding to be streamlined for these community members.

The Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS[2] commits to increasing the proportion of HIV services delivered by communities.[3] The Love Alliance proposes that a target on direct community funding is clearly mentioned in the M&E framework and in Key Performance Indicators. Strong well-resourced communities build strong health systems, which is key to the Global Fund delivering on this new Strategy. 

To move the rhetoric of communities at the centre to reality, we need direct community funding, a renewed focus on key populations and vulnerable groups, and ensuring that our health equity, gender equality and human rights objectives are achieved. 

The Global Fund’s role in future pandemics

The new Global Fund Strategy outlines the evolving objective on Pandemic Preparedness. The Global Fund partnership should actively promote the lessons from the HIV response, notably that strong and resilient health systems, including strong communities, are the foundation of pandemic preparedness. The Global Fund’s founding principles of equity, community leadership, and human rights must be at the core of the Fund’s work on COVID-19 and in strengthening health systems for future pandemics.

Looking ahead

Now it is crucial that we ensure through our collective actions that the goals and objectives of the new Strategy are delivered upon. To move the rhetoric of communities at the centre to reality, we need direct community funding, a renewed focus on key populations and vulnerable groups, and ensuring that our health equity, gender equality, and human rights objectives are achieved.

[1]  PITCH, Bridging the Gaps, Aidsfonds, 2020, Fast-Track or Off-Track: How insufficient funding for key populations jeopardises ending AIDS by 2030.

[2] United Nations General Assembly, 2020. Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Ending Inequalities and Getting on Track to end AIDS by 2030. 

[3] The Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS commits to increasing the proportion of HIV services delivered by communities, including by ensuring that by 2025, community-led organisations deliver:

  • 30 % of testing and treatment services, with a focus on HIV testing, linkage to treatment, adherence and retention support, and treatment literacy; 
  • 80 % of HIV prevention services for populations at high risk of HIV infection, including for women within those populations
  • 60 % of programmes to support the achievement of societal enablers

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