The 2011 Multilateral Development Review (MDR) done by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) was the first systematic assessment to examine the value for money that the UK gets from putting funding through multilateral organisations. The next update, completed in 2013, scrutinised the improvements multilateral organisations had made since 2011. The reviews highlight best practice in the global development system, as well as examples of poor performance that will face urgent action.
In 2016, the UK spent £12.2 billion on international development, meeting a UN target that encourages developed countries to donate 0.7% of their gross national income to foreign aid. David Cameron committed the UK to fulfil that target by passing the International Development Act in 2015, even after a review conducted in 2011 had found that eighteen bodies offered only “adequate” or “poor” value for money. Therefore, it is understandable that the 2016 MDR set higher standards than previous ones.
The 2016 review stated with specific concern regarding disease—which is the focus of the Fund, that: “In the last 15 years, child and maternal mortality rates have significantly reduced. Malaria deaths have fallen to 438,000 in 2015 from 839,000 in 2009.”
The report further stated that: “The emergence and spread of microbes with the potential to cause pandemics and the rise of drug resistance, including antimicrobial resistance, are significant concerns. Neglected tropical diseases still cause an estimated half a million deaths annually. Much progress has been made on reducing the threat of HIV and AIDS, but we cannot afford to be complacent. These global challenges will require greater and more coordinated action at local, national, regional and international levels.”
The review awarded the Global Fund the highest possible rating for matching UK development objectives, and for overall organizational strength. Throughout the review, the UK stressed its priorities of targeting resources for maximum impact, insisting on transparency and efficiency, and working together to maximize results. The review also mentioned organizations including the World Bank and Gavi, are achieving exceptional results.
The review goes on to note however, that the multilateral system as a whole in general is not meeting its potential due to the fact that agencies, including UN agencies, are not working together. The review stated that the UK will work with partners to ensure there is less competition and duplication of effort between organisations.
It is noteworthy that in the review, it is stated that the UK will push for improved transparency, better value for money and greater accountability and that DFID is setting out more requirements for multilateral agencies, including new openness about management and administration budgets.
The review cites the Global Fund as having achieved exceptional results, with it being only one of three organizations— the World Bank, the Fund and Gavi, having achieved the ranking of ‘very good’ on both the indices (matches with UK Priorities and Organisational Strengths), and further specifies its intention to continue giving strong support, while pressing for even higher standards and for further improvement in areas such as strengthening health systems.
Within the report, it is stated that: “New HIV infections among children have declined by 58% since 2000. In 2014, 13.6 million people living with HIV were receiving anti-retroviral therapy - 17 times more people than in 20034. UK aid has supported an estimated 480,000 additional people to start treatment for HIV through the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.”
The UK is one of the 20 voting members of the Fund’s Board, with core functions of strategy development and oversight of governance, finance, organisational performance, risk management and partnership engagement. DFID is a member of the both the Audit and Finance Committee and the Ethics and Governance Committee at the Fund.
The UK has announced that it will invest £1.1 billion in the Global Fund up to the end of 2019, comprising of £900 million core funding, including a £90 million performance-based tranche, and up to £200 million for a private donor malaria fund.
On the review, Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund stated: "The UK is providing great leadership in development, and we fully agree with their forward-looking approach. This review demonstrates how effective global partnerships can be when they focus on results and impact."
The review and related material can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/raising-the-standard-the-multilateral-development-review-2016