As it does for each round of funding, the Technical Review Panel (TRP) has identified a number of issues with respect to the Round 7 applications and review process, and has made several recommendations to the Global Fund (and others) that could lead to changes in future rounds.
The Global Fund is scheduled to issue its Call for Proposals for Round 8 on 1 March 2008. From that date, applicants will have 120 days to prepare and submit their proposals. This may sound like a fair amount of time but, in our experience, most applicants in recent rounds of funding have had to rush to get their proposals completed on time, and some have failed to get their proposals approved because of that rush.
Today, during the first day of its sixteenth board meeting held in Kunming, China, the Global Fund board approved 73 Round 7 grants that will cost $1,119 million over the first two years and $2,762 m. over five years. (For a complete list of approved and non-approved proposals, see below.) As a result of recent new pledges, the Fund has sufficient money to pay for all grants that were recommended by the Technical Review Panel.
The pledges made to the Fund for 2008-10 at last week's Replenishment Meeting in Berlin, as reported above, were impressively large. Global Fund staff said that over the last few weeks, their private estimates of how much would be pledged steadily climbed from $7 billion to $8 billion to $9 billion. The final number was nearly $10 billion.
Round 7 applicants to the Global Fund submitted fewer, but bigger and better, proposals than applicants in all previous rounds.
A group of NGOs has published guidelines on integrating the provision of sexual and reproductive health services into Global Fund Round 7 HIV/AIDS proposals.
Chapter 3 of "The Aidspan Guide to Round 7 Applications to the Global Fund," announced above, discusses the strengths and weaknesses of applications submitted in Rounds 3 through 6. The list provided is based on an extensive analysis of comments made on those applications by the TRP.
The strengths identified most often in the TRP comments were as follows:
The Global Fund Board has approved two of the twelve Round 6 proposals whose original rejection had been appealed by the applicants. The newly approved proposals are an HIV/AIDS proposal from Egypt that will cost $5.4 million over the first two years, and a TB proposal from Pakistan that will cost $22.6 million. The approvals are subject to a number of clarifications being successfully responded to in a timely manner.
The Global Fund Board has decided that any country whose economy is classified as upper-middle-income, and that had a high enough disease burden to be eligible to apply for Round 6 HIV/AIDS grants, will also be eligible to apply in Round 7. As a result, South Africa, Botswana and Equatorial Guinea will not be excluded from Round 7 eligibility as they would have been if this ruling had not been made.
The Global Fund is in better financial shape to cover the anticipated cost of Round 7 grants than it was at this stage with any of the three previous rounds.