04 November 2021
The Global Fund’s Technical Review Panel (TRP) is an impartial team of experts appointed by the Strategy Committee (in accordance with the delegated authority from the Global Fund Board) with the responsibility of providing rigorous, independent technical assessment of funding requests made to the Global Fund. The TRP was established in 2002 under the rounds-based system to review all proposals and make funding recommendations to the Board. After almost 20 years of existence, there is a need to re-assess the TRP’s mandate, strengthen its processes, governance, and oversight mechanisms.
Since 2002, the TRP has evolved in terms of mandate, expertise and number of members. Its evolution has not however fully reflected or aligned with the Global Fund’s evolution. There is scope to leverage the benefits availing from transition to the New Funding Model, from increased roles of various stakeholders in the funding request development process, and from portfolio differentiation, which has resulted in overall good quality of funding requests and a decrease in iteration rates.
The TRP does not differentiate sufficiently between portfolios. It devotes almost the same amount of time, resources and effort, and applies the same processes, to each funding request, irrespective of size, complexity, or program performance. This is inconsistent with the organization’s new funding model and prevents the targeting of expertise where it is most needed. In order to differentiate, the TRP would benefit from having an evaluation process by which all Funding Requests are assessed based on allocation size and performance. Based on this assessment, each funding request could follow a differentiated review route in terms of (i) review process steps, (ii) tailored review group composition in size and expertise, (iii) review outcomes, (iv) review timelines and (v) level of effort.
Maintaining a strong team of experts with the right balance between fresh perspective and exposure to Global Fund’s operations is critical for the TRP’s success. This can be accomplished by staggering recruitment and updating membership terms to allow for a better split between serving and new members.
There is also an opportunity to strengthen governance and oversight by enhancing the TRP’s internal monitoring mechanism and the Strategy Committee's oversight role on TRP’s workplan, budget and performance assessment.