Righting the Global Fund
February 27, 2012
Over the course of 2011, the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria experienced unprecedented adversity. Media accounts and internal reports drew attention to instances of corruption involving grantees: $34 million of probable fraud in four African countries triggered a suspension of assistance by Germany and two other European donors. External reviews detailed the Fund’s deficient managerial practices, weak oversight of investments, and ineffectual board governance. An alarming, $2-billion-plus financial shortfall, revealed suddenly at year’s end, reflected a worsening global economy, overly optimistic forecasting by the Fund secretariat, and flagging donor trust and confidence in the Fund itself. Suddenly, the Fund faced painful existential questions: might it soon actually fail to meet the baseline needs of the millions of people whose lives were dependent on it? Or would it be able to regain its footing and return as a dynamic, expansive funding instrument focused on three of the world’s most deadly epidemics?