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Global Fund Catalytic Investments are Central to ‘Putting People and Communities at the Centre’

12 May, 2022

The following position papers – one prepared jointly with Harm Reduction International and Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, the other prepared just by INPUD – were shared jointly with the Global Fund Board in advance of their meeting on 12 – 13 May, 2022. The focus of the meeting was on the 2023-2025 allocating methodology and prioritisation of catalytic investments (CI).

Recommendations:

• We urge the Global Fund Board to approve an allocation model that ensures catalytic investment funds increase in line with replenishment without a cap, in order to maximise the potential of multi-country grants, matching funds and strategic initiatives for the successful implementation of the Global Fund Strategy 2023-2028

• We urge the Global Fund Board to give multi-country grants due parity in the allocation formula, with increased funding available for advocacy, legal and policy reform, in order to ensure health, rights and access to harm reduction for people who use drugs.

• We urge the Global Fund to track the extent to which matching funds have led to investment in key population programming, including harm reduction. It is imperative that the matching funds mechanism enables the Global Fund to incentivise investment in rights-based, people centred harm reduction where it is needed most.

• We urge the Global Fund Board to approve an increase in the funding stream for strategic initiatives. Currently, this is the only stream of funding that directly funds community-led networks to undertake a variety of critical, enabling work, that builds the voice and influence of people who use drugs to advocate for their health and human rights to be met. Additionally, it enables community-led monitoring of services to provide evidence for action and advocacy.  Increased investment in strengthening community systems and responses is a direct investment in communities that will be crucial to the implementation of the Global Fund strategy 2023-2028, which commits to putting people and communities at the centre.

Recommendations

• There is a need to revisit and assess organisational efforts to increase the impact of TGF investment on the ground. With this in mind, we argue that an evolution to the fundamentals of the model is necessary to truly reach that ‘last mile’.

• To push forward on the evolution of TGF model includes the need to ensure a shared and common understanding of what Catalytic Investments (CI) are and are comprised of. CI’s should be truly ‘catalytic’. In fact, CI was established to cover the most pressing funding needs and priorities of the communities that fall outside Country Grants; that is human rights and gender-related programmes, including community systems strengthening and community-led advocacy, reduction of HIV-related stigma and discrimination and efforts focused on decriminalisation of drug use and possession, sex work, gender identity and sexual orientation.

• In the absence of a dedicated key population funding stream, Catalytic Investments (CI’s), particularly Component 2 of the CRG – Strategic Initiative, are vital for sustaining drug user-led networks who are on the frontlines of advocacy, service delivery, research and monitoring of harm reduction, health, and legal services.

• If we want to keep CI truly ‘catalytic’ and keep reaching the goals to end AIDS consistent with the UNAIDS 2021-2026 and the Global Fund 2023-2028 Strategies, at least 60-70% of these investments should be allocated to advocacy, prioritising advocacy carried out by criminalised populations.