Statement delivered by UNDP Deputy Country Director, Jorn Sorensen on the occasion of the GFATM Financial Management Workshop

29 Mar 2009

Statement delivered by UNDP Deputy Country Director, Jorn Sorensen on the occasion of the GFATM Financial Management Workshop, 29 March 2009

Distinguished guests,
Dear Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen

I am pleased to be here today delivering my first statement in Nepal for a most critical issue in today’s world.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) was created to increase resources to fight three of the world's most devastating diseases, and to direct those resources to areas of greatest need. As a key partner to the Global Fund and recipient countries; UNDP is now Principal Recipient (PR) in 30 countries; and manages 70 grants totaling around US $ 600 million for 2 years.

In the majority of the countries where UNDP is acting as Principle Recipient (PR), it is building the capacity of potential alternate PRs and sub-recipients (SRs). One such example is in Burkina Faso, where the Country Office held numerous trainings to strengthen the capacities of sub-recipients, government stakeholders and members of Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCM) and in 2006, UNDP successfully handed over the PR responsibilities to a national authority.
In Nepal, UNDP got involved in Global Fund to implement the round 2 grant as Management Support Agency (MSA) upon request from the Government of Nepal. Later, in 2006 UNDP was made the co PR for the grant.

HIV/AIDS has the potential to become a national crisis in Nepal. The overall HIV prevalence in Nepal is estimated at 0.49% in the adult population corresponding to about 70,000 people living with HIV out of which approximately one in three are women.

In the case of Nepal,
In November 2008, the Government of Nepal received US $12.3 million for HIV/AIDS from the round seven grant of Global Fund To Fight AIDS,Tuberculosis, and Malaria(GFATM). The three principle recipients in Nepal implementing this grant are Family Planning Association of Nepal; Save the Children (US) and UNDP. The objective of the grant is to help reduce HIV transmission in Nepal and enhance the quality of the lives of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in the country, mainly in the mid and far-west development regions. The programme targets mainly the mobile population, Injecting Drug Users (IDUs), Men having Sex with Men (MSM) and PLWHA.

Out of the total US$ 12.3 m, UNDP Nepal will manage US$ 6.7 million for the period of two years- based on the contract between GFATM and UNDP. During the implementing period, UNDP will focus on further building the capacity of the Government and of civil society to manage and implement HIV/AIDS activities; expand access and coverage of quality HIV testing and counseling, Sexually Transmitted Infection(STI) diagnosis and treatment; and strengthen the existing health services to provide quality care and treatment for PLWHA.

Regarding our partnership with donors,

In December 2008, The Department For International Development (DFID) and UNDP signed US$ 3.2 (‘ 2.2 m) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to continue supporting the implementation of the national HIV/AIDS response in Nepal for 2009. With this, DFID’s total contribution since 2005 to the national HIV/AIDS response in Nepal amounts to US$13.8m (‘ 9,400,000).

With the additional available resources, UNDP will continue the implementation of comprehensive services for Most At-Risk Populations in 2009 and support the institutional capacity strengthening of the National Centre for AIDS and STD Control, Ministry of Health and Population and the HIV/AIDS & STD Control Board. The DFID funding will also complement and supplement the Round 7 grant from the Global Fund for AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), ensuring stronger national response on HIV/AIDS.

I am pleased to state that our achievements so far have been;

Reaching the most at-risk populations ‘ Over one million migrants, injecting drug users and men who have sex with men have been reached to prevent them from contracting the disease and to inform them what to do if they become infected. The support to large-scale behaviour-change communication, peer education, community sensitisation and advocacy initiatives, plus the setting up of many drop-in and information centres, has limited the spread of the disease. The programme has also supported the testing of 33,000 people for HIV/AIDS, the treatment of 41,000 at-risk people for sexually transmitted infections and the distribution of over five million condoms and one million lubricants to at-risk people.

Strengthening institutional capacity ‘ Considerable support has gone to strengthening the HIV/AIDS and STI Control Board ‘ the Government agency responsible for coordinating HIV/AIDS activities in Nepal. This is building up the capacity of this agency so as it can take over the responsibilities for administering international assistance to HIV/AIDS and for implementing the national programme. The programme is also working to strengthen the ability of civil society to provide support services. In 2007, 55% of the $7.3 million of programme expenditure was channelled through 59 NGOs and 61 community organisations, mainly by providing them with grants and training to conduct community home-based care, and provide referral services for anti-retroviral treatment, immunity counts and the management of opportunistic infections.

Livelihoods support ‘ Work has begun on the crucial task of supporting the livelihoods of people affected by HIV/AIDS so as they can live in dignity. So far 409 infected and affected persons have been trained to start up small businesses, with further support helping some of them establish businesses.


New Global Fund support

At the beginning of 2009 Nepal received further large funding from the Global Fund. This is being managed by UNDP under the separate initiative, ‘Scaling up Access to HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care’. This aims to strengthen and expand voluntary counselling and testing services, strengthen the civil society response to the disease and expand the availability of anti-retroviral treatment. It also seeks to improve the availability of information on the disease, strengthen district AIDS coordination committees and support the Government’s overall response.

Lastly, I would like to emphasize upon the Importance of these projects towards achieving the MDGs and consolidating peace

UNDP's support to the national programme has played a crucial role in reducing the rates of infections among the at-risk groups to put Nepal on-target to achieve MDG 6 of having halted by 2015, and begun to reverse, the spread of HIV/AIDS. The two projects are crucial to preventing an epidemic from developing in the general population, which could undermine development across all the MDGs, as has happened in some African countries.

Thank-you.