In an effort to prevent the misuse of funds earmarked for fighting global pandemic diseases in developing countries, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today announced new measures to further strengthen safeguards against fraud and corruption.
“Over the last decade, the global fight against AIDS and other infectious diseases has been remarkably successful, saving many millions of lives and helping families, communities, and countries to grow stronger – when funds intended for life-saving treatment and prevention are stolen, that theft is tantamount to murder,” said the UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, in a statement.
UNDP also welcomed similar measures announced today by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, an international financing institution that invests the world’s money to save lives. To date, it has committed $21.7 billion in 150 countries to support large-scale prevention, treatment and care programs against the three diseases.
The Global Fund is the largest international channel of financial support to fight the three diseases. UNDP works with it as an intermediary in 27 countries to ensure that funding is invested in effective programmes for vulnerable people; and it receives approximately 12 per cent of the Global Fund’s overall portfolio – often for projects in regions with challenging environments, including in countries emerging from natural disasters, conflicts, or political crises.
“UNDP welcomes the steps announced by the Global Fund today to enhance its financial safeguards and strengthen fraud prevention,” Ms. Clark said. “UNDP will be supporting the Global Fund’s efforts, and taking additional measures of its own.”
The new measures include the recruitment of a dedicated and specialized full-time investigator to respond to credible allegations of fraud or corruption in UNDP-managed Global Fund grants; the creation of formal “capacity development” initiatives in all countries where UNDP manages ongoing Global Fund grants; and the submission of a proposal to UNDP’s Executive Board to allow the Global Fund to access UNDP audit reports of Global Fund projects, a privilege currently restricted to UN member states.
There has also been agreement on a memorandum of understanding between UNDP’s Office of Audit and Investigation and the Global Fund’s Office of the Inspector-General to strengthen cooperation and information-sharing on investigations into fraud and corruption.
UNDP’s partnership with the Global Fund has already brought treatment to more than 26 million cases of malaria and 700,000 cases of tuberculosis from Southern Sudan to the Democratic Republic of Congo to Liberia, Belarus, Haiti, and Tajikistan.