Update on the applications process for 2017-2019
Differentiated application materials and review methodologies will be used for the funding requests from countries related to the 2017-2019 allocations, replacing the one-size-fits-all approach that was used last time around.
The Secretariat has informed Aidspan that there will be three different categories of funding requests from countries: program continuation, tailored review, and full review. Countries will be told which category their components fall into when they receive their allocation letters. One of the lessons learned from the first allocations process was that there is need for differentiated approaches, based on the circumstances of the country and the nature of the funding request.
The three approaches will be described in an operational policy note on access to funding and grant making, which the Secretariat said should be published soon, possibly in October. They will also be published in an applicant’s handbook (publication scheduled for December), and in a new e-learning module (likely to be published in January 2017).
The term “concept note” is being dropped. It will be replaced by the term “funding request.” The Global Fund believes that “funding request” better describes the different approaches that are being used.
The Global Fund Board is expected to approve the allocations at its next meeting on 16-17 November. The Global Fund plans to inform eligible countries of their allocations in December 2016.
The main steps in the full applications process will be similar to those used for the 2014-2016 allocations: (1) country dialogue; (2) submission of funding request; (3) review of the funding request by the Technical Review Panel (TRP); (4) grant-making; (5) final review and recommendation from the Grant Approvals Committee (GAC), followed by Board approval; (7) signing of the grant agreement(s); and (8) first disbursement. Note that there will only be one GAC review this time, whereas previously, there were two.
Included in the above steps is some “back-and-forth” between the Secretariat and the applicant to clarify portions of the funding requests. Sometimes the TRP will recommend that a funding request be re-written.
The Secretariat is hoping that the process from funding request to first disbursement will take less than eight months, although it admits that this goal was not reached by a majority of applicants the last time around. (The average duration from funding request to first disbursement was 10.5 months.) Note that this does not include the time required for discussions in the country dialogue portion.
The grant implementation period will be three years, as before.
Because some multi-year grants for some components from the 2014-2016 allocation period are only now being signed, not all funding requests are expected to be submitted in 2017. Some will be submitted in 2018 or 2019. (The latest date a funding request can be submitted for funds from the 2017-2019 allocation is 31 December 2019.) Nevertheless, the Secretariat told GFO that more than 60% of the current portfolio consists of grants that end in December 2017, so a high number of funding requests are expected to be submitted in the first half of 2017.
The Secretariat has not yet gone beyond this in terms of forecasting precisely when funding requests are expected to be submitted. The times of the review windows have not yet been set. In early 2017, country coordinating mechanisms will be asked to register for the review windows.
The Secretariat said that it will be publishing a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on its website every month, starting in September. (The first FAQs should be published next week.) The FAQ documents will describe changes from the 2014-2017 funding cycle. The application documents themselves and some information resources will be available on the Global Fund website sometime in December.
Please note: The Secretariat suggests that countries that received allocations for 2014-2016 and are implementing grants ending on or before 31 December 2017 should start preparing shortly for their next funding requests.