I am speaking on behalf of Austria, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway.
The UBRAF report describes the extremely serious consequences of the current budget shortfall, which affects not just UNAIDS, but also the system-wide engagement of the United Nations and the Global Fund in the field of HIV and AIDS.
UN capacities to tackle HIV and AIDS will be reduced, at exactly the point in time where we all acknowledge the need for a stronger effort to reach the fast track targets.
The task of UNAIDS and the Joint Programme is to handle this situation in a coherent way that minimizes the negative impact on delivery against the strategy.
The task of the PCB, is to provide guidance and decisions to make that task as attainable as possible for the ExD and the CCOs. We have already addressed the key overarching points in our interventions following the Executive Director’s address yesterday, and will focus here on specific comments to the report and the decision points.
Firstly, we support the intention of decision point 6.2, to provide more clarity on co-sponsor use of UBRAF funds. The lack of such clarity has been a fundamental obstacle to informed discussion in the PCB on the handling and consequences of the reduced budget. It has also prevented us from developing a clear understanding of the consequences of different options for how to handle it. This has probably also contributed to a slower and less effective response to the budget crises. This is not a state of affairs we should leave unchanged. It will, for instance, be an indispensable prerequisite for an informed discussion on a new operating model for the Joint Programme.
Secondly, we support the agreement in the CCO on the level of co-sponsor funding for 2017 to ensure a responsible transition. We would however stress the need for arrangements to deal, on a running basis, with the situation should the funding outlook change significantly, either for better or worse. Reallocation should be made on a joint basis and agreed by the CCO, and should allocate resources on the basis of impact on delivery against the strategy.
Thirdly, we strongly support the intention to develop a renewed and strengthened operating model during the first half of 2017, and to establish a Review Panel to assist in this task.
While we agree that the panel shall include members of the Joint Programme and the PCB, it should also include some external experts.
In line with the decision point 7.15 of the last PCB, the review panel should also explore a variety of means through which the Joint Programme could further benefit from its relationship with the Global Fund.
In terms of process, we suggest that the Review Panel should present its recommendations to the Joint Programme (Executive Director and the CCOs) in the spring 2017.
Following discussions in the JP, and an agreement on the strengthened model, the new operating model should be presented to the June PCB by the Executive Director.
This is a question of urgency. We have to avoid another year of uncertainty about the future course and structure of the Joint Programme.
Fourthly, we strongly support the efforts to broaden the donor base, including private sector partners. Furthermore, we encourage measures to seek innovative sources of financing.
Finally, we know that we will in June adopt the 2018-2019 core UNAIDS budget. If we do not have a clear agreement on how the Joint Program will operate to implement the Fast-track Strategy it will be difficult, if not impossible, to adopt the 2018-2019 budget.