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THE GLOBAL FUND RANKED HIGH IN THE 2020 AID TRANSPARENCY INDEX
GFO Issue 283

THE GLOBAL FUND RANKED HIGH IN THE 2020 AID TRANSPARENCY INDEX

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Download PDF The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria is ranked eighth, in the top category (“very good”), out of 47 world-leading aid and development finance organizations, according to the 2020 Aid Transparency Index. Publish What You Fund, a non-profit organization that campaigns for aid transparency and monitors the transparency of donor organizations, published its 2020 Aid Transparency Index on…

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The Global Fund has room for improvement in publication of pre-project impact appraisal

ABSTRACT In the 2020 Aid Transparency Index Report published on 23 June 2020, Publish What You Fund ranked the Global Fund among the 11 leading organizations on transparency. Specifically, the Global Fund was ranked eighth out of 47 aid and development financing organizations, with a score of 86.5%. According to the report, the Global Fund performed well on organization commitments and planning, finance and budgets, and joining-up development data components. However, the organization still has room for improvement on the project attributes and performance components.

The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria is ranked eighth, in the top category (“very good”), out of 47 world-leading aid and development finance organizations, according to the 2020 Aid Transparency IndexPublish What You Fund, a non-profit organization that campaigns for aid transparency and monitors the transparency of donor organizations, published its 2020 Aid Transparency Index on 23 June 2020. In 2020, the Global Fund scored 86.5%, up by 12% from its score in 2018, meaning that the Global Fund can be considered exemplary on matters of transparency.

Publish What You Fund has been assessing the transparency of donor organizations since 2011 via the Aid Transparency Index. The organization assesses donors’ aid transparency using 35 indicators, grouped into five components, which are organizational commitments and planning, finance and budgets, project attributes, joining-up development data, and performance.

Based on an overall score in the index, Publish What You Fund groups donor organizations into five categories, which are “very good” (80 – 100%), “good” (60 – 80%), “fair” (40 – 60%), “poor” (20 – 40%), and “very poor” (0 – 20%). The organizations that are ranked higher on transparency than the Global Fund are:

  • the Asian Development Bank – 98%
  • the World Bank – 97.1%
  • the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) – 96.6%
  • the African Development Bank (AfDB) – 95.5%
  • the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) – 95.4%
  • the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – 92.9%
  • the United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) – 92.1%

The other donors categorized on the transparency score as “very good” but with lower scores than the Global Fund are:

  • the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) – 85.4%,
  • Canada’s Global Affairs – 80.9%
  • Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance – 80.8%

The Global Fund’s overall score over the years

The Global Fund’s overall score has improved over the years. The organization increased its score from 70.6% in 2013 to 86.9% in 2016. However, the organization’s score dropped to 74.5% in 2018 and has risen to 86.5% in 2020.

The Global Fund’s performance on transparency from 2013 to 2020

Source: Aidspan, using data from Publish What You Fund index archive

The Global Fund’s performance in 2020

The Global Fund scored highest on the finance and budget component, with a score of 24.6 out of 25. The organization, however, performed low on the performance component, with a score of 13.3 out of the possible 20.

The Global Fund’s transparency performance per component in 2020

Source: Aidspan, using data from the 2020 Aid Transparency Index report

Organizational commitments and planning

This component assesses the organization’s overall aims and strategy. The Global Fund scored 13.7 out of the possible 15 points in this component. The organization performed well in this component due to its monthly publication of its strategy, annual reports, allocation policy, procurement policy, and audits on the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Registry. The only indicator where its score was low in this component was on the quality of disclosure policy (access to information).

Finance and budgets

It is through this component that one can ”follow the organization’s money”. The Global Fund scored a high 24.6 out of 25 points in this component. The organization provided a yearly or quarterly breakdown of activities, and detailed the overall financial commitment and individual financial disbursements to activities. Additionally, the Global Fund provided details of budget alignment to the recipient country’s government and published the organization’s total budget per year for the following three years. The organization lost a few points since it failed to provide disaggregated budgets, project budgets, and detailed budgets listing line items and projected spending for each activity.

Project attributes

This component captures the availability of non-financial data, such as the titles and descriptions of projects, to entry point users for a quick understanding of projects. The Global Fund scored 16.5 out of 20 points in this component. The organization performed well on publication of project titles, descriptions, dates, project status, specific areas or sectors supported, implementing entities, and unique activity identifiers. However, the Global Fund failed to publish the sub-national locations for its projects resulting in a low score on this indicator.

Joining-up development data

This component assesses how well the organization’s data is linked with information from other actors in the same development sector. The Global Fund scored 18.5 out of 20 points in this component. It performed particularly well on publishing the type of aid and finance it provides, as well as the tied status of its aid (which allows open procurement or restricts it to the donor organization’s country). However, the organization did not perform optimally on publication of its contracts, tenders, and the terms and conditions that the aid recipients need to meet in order for funds to be released.

Performance

This component assesses the availability of data and documents to determine whether projects are on track to achieve their desired results. The Global Fund scores 13.2 out of 20 points in this component. The organization performed well on publishing the objectives of the supported activities and documents with assessments of how its projects are performing, such as surveys, progress against targets, and project evaluations. However, the organization has room for improvement in the publication of results, outcomes, and outputs for all completed activities in its recipient countries. The organization performed poorly on the publication of pre-project impact appraisals, with a score of zero.

Aidspan’s advocacy for a transparent Global Fund

The high ranking of the Global Fund on transparency has been a primary focus for Aidspan over the years. Our call has been that the Global Fund becomes more transparent by making more accurate and complete data available. Over the years, we have advocated for open information sharing from the Global Fund. Specifically, we have advocated for the timely publication of grant application and implementation documents, such as:

  • both the initial and final versions of funding requests, after iterations by the Global Fund Secretariat, Technical Review Panel (TRP), and Grant Approval Committee (GAC)
  • reports from the TRP and GAC
  • grant detailed budgets and expenditures report
  • Local Fund Agents in-country assessment reports
  • portfolio optimization reports
  • approved proposal for emergency funding
  • annual audit reports of the Principal Recipients.

Additionally, we continuously advocate for the publication of the Board Strategy, Audit and Finance, and Ethics and Governance committeees reports, including the reports of the Technical Evaluation Reference Group (TERG), which is an independent advisory group of the Global Fund Board that independently evaluated the Global Fund business model.

Recommendations

According to the 2020 Aid Transparency Index report, the Global Fund should publish:

  • sub-national location information to enable interested parties to know precisely where the project activities are implemented
  • pre-project impact appraisals with an analysis of potential negative externalities
  • result targets and actual outcomes promptly for effective monitoring.

Further resources

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