15 April 2021
By 16 December 2020, the Global Fund had awarded US$759 million through its COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM), designed to support countries in their fight against the pandemic. C19RM’s design was robust and inclusive, and clearly linked to the Global Fund’s strategic objectives. Roles and targets were clearly defined, and key flexibilities, risk assessment and mitigation were incorporated into process operationalization. CCMs were mobilized to achieve stakeholder engagement and integration with national COVID-19 responses. Instructions and tools accompanied the process roll-out. While satisfactory and aligned with strategic objectives, C19RM’s design could be enhanced in future to be more agile, envisaging ongoing, responsive adjustments to changes in COVID-19 cases, country needs, fund utilization, and data availability and reliability.
Funding request review and approval was effective: the C19RM Secretariat screened all funding requests to ensure policy compliance, and strong controls were applied during the review process. While countries submitted funding requests with some delays, the Secretariat reviewed and approved them promptly: 72% of C19RM funds were approved within two months, representing the highest conversion rate for approved funds to countries among major peer organizations. Implementation of grant activities has been scaled up using lessons learnt, with 67% of activities initiated by mid-March 2021; the remaining activities need to be initiated/implemented and closely monitored to ensure timely completion.