19 August 2005
New Government Restrictions Make Grant Implementation Impossible
Geneva - Given new restrictions recently imposed by the government of Myanmar, the Global Fund has concluded that its grants to the country cannot be managed in a way that ensures effective program implementation. As a result the Global Fund yesterday terminated its grant agreements to Myanmar.
The decision means that three grants, one each for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, with a total value of US$ 35.7 million over two years, will be phased out by the end of the year. The decision has been taken after consultations with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is the Principal Recipient of Global Fund grants in Myanmar. The Principal Recipient is responsible for grant implementation in the country.
"Both the Global Fund and UNDP are very concerned about the tremendous need to provide humanitarian assistance, and to prevent further spread of the three diseases in Myanmar," said Richard Feachem, the Executive Director of the Global Fund. "It is therefore with considerable regret that the Global Fund, after consultations with UNDP and other international partners, has had to terminate its grants to Myanmar."
In July of this year, the government of Myanmar instituted new travel clearance procedures, which will have the effect of restricting access to grant implementation areas by the Principal Recipient, staff of implementing partners and Global Fund staff. In addition, the government imposed new procedures for the review of procurement of medical and other supplies, which are a vital aspect of Global Fund project implementation. The Global Fund has concluded that these measures would prevent the implementation of performance-based and time-bound programs in the country, breach the government’s written commitment to provide unencumbered access, and frustrate the ability of the Principal Recipient to carry out its obligations.
The travel restrictions appear to be the most recent manifestation of a gradual change in the government’s attitude towards international and national humanitarian efforts in Myanmar over the past few weeks.
The Global Fund will work with UNDP to gradually terminate activities, sub-recipient contracts, and all other contracts. All unspent assets will be returned to the Global Fund. The UN family will now work with other development partners to explore appropriate alternative ways of responding to these three epidemics in Myanmar.