As the deadline for the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) looms, the World Bank and the UN announced a new fund for child and maternal health (MDGs 4 and 5). Norway pledged $600 million and Canada $200 million towards the new Global Financing Facility (GFF) to be hosted by the Bank “to support MDG acceleration and improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health”. However the Bank claimed that the total value of the fund “could be up to $4 billion”, as “bilateral contributions could leverage up to $3.2 billion from IDA [International Development Association, the Bank’s low-income arm]”. The Bank intends the GFF to explore “other financing windows” for “multi-sectoral”, “multi-lateral” and “market-shaping” investments.
However, global NGO International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) questioned the potential impact of the GFF’s funding on the Bank’s exisitng health commitments in a November briefing: “There is a potential danger that donor funds may, instead of adding to global health funding, be transferred from existing programmes to the GFF which is as yet untested and unknown.” Preethi Sundaram of IPPF said: “The GFF provides an opportunity to mobilise resources for sexual and reproductive health and rights. However, it is critical that it supplements current funding; that funds for sexual and reproductive health and rights are explicitly earmarked and ring-fenced within the GFF; and that the GFF takes a rights-based approach.”
There is a potential danger that donor funds may, instead of adding to global health funding, be transferred from existing programmes to the GFF which is as yet untested and unknown.IPPF
The GFF is modelled on the Bank’s Health Results Innovations Trust Fund (HRITF), a multi-donor $575 million fund supported by Norway and the UK. The HRITF has a 15-year implementation period ending in 2022. A 2012 evaluation by Norad, the Norwegian agency for development cooperation, highlighted that “the evidence base for results based financing” (a programme-financing mechanism linking incentives with results) “remains narrow” and that the HRITF needs “to draw and learn key lessons” from its pilots.