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Despite continued international support to the Joint Programme, UNAIDS now faces a significant budget shortfall. In the context of a challenging funding climate for the United Nations generally, financing and accountability frameworks must be strengthened and improved. To address this issue within UNAIDS, the Global Review Panel is focusing on the following issues:

Alignment between resources and expected results
The UNAIDS Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF) brings together the AIDS workplans and budgets of 11 Cosponsoring agencies and the UNAIDS Secretariat into a single framework. The UNAIDS Board approved a 2016-2017 UBRAF in line with the ambitious UNAIDS 2016-21 Strategy, which contains the 2020 targets agreed by the United Nations General Assembly.  However, a gap has emerged between the Board-approved budget and the funding provided by donors. By late 2016, the funding gap widened to 28%. 2017 funding is expected to fall significantly short of the budget. This threatens the sustainability of the Joint Programme, which relies entirely on voluntary contributions for its core budget.

Global Fund-UNAIDS relationship
UNAIDS’ financial situation has revived discussions on the funding relationship between the Joint Programme and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. UNAIDS provides support throughout the lifecycle of AIDS-related Global Fund grants, and has assisted more than 100 countries in effectively using over US$ 16 billion disbursed by the Global Fund. While some Cosponsors receive financial resources from the Global Fund for this work, the bulk of the Secretariat’s support is provided using core UBRAF resources and contributions from individual donors.

Cosponsor-Secretariat funding relationship
The extent of the budget shortfall puts pressure on the funding relationship between the Secretariat and the Cosponsors. A more dynamic, differentiated and need-based approach to resource allocation must be considered, and new resource mobilization strategies discussed. A potential resource mobilization strategy could be the development of specific joint initiatives, modelled on the successful Global Plan to eliminate new HIV infections among children and keep their mothers alive. However, increasing the levels of earmarked funding could leave the Joint Programme’s financial situation unstable.

Accountability for results
The UBRAF aims to maximize the accountability of the Joint Programme through a single framework for the planning and performance monitoring of the Cosponsors and Secretariat. However, funding partners have called on UNAIDS to make budget allocations more transparent, and to strengthen and simplify results management and results reporting. To address these concerns, UNAIDS extensively revised the UBRAF for 2016-2017. The Global Review Panel will need to consider whether these measures sufficiently answer concerns. The breadth of reporting to the UNAIDS Board also requires consideration. Current reporting is focused on UBRAF resources mobilized by the Secretariat and Cosponsors, but the core budget is just 13% of the total HIV funds of the Cosponsors and Secretariat. In addition, if the UNAIDS Board is asked to play a broader role in oversight of the wider global response, its purview over all AIDS response resources may need to be considered.