Jason Wright

US Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance

Jason Taylor Wright has been US Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance since October 2011. The AIDS Alliance is a network of national, independent, locally governed and managed Linking Organizations working in 40 countries. He is based in Washington.

Mr. Wright most recently was Multilateral Team Leader in the Office of HIV/AIDS at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington. He served as USAID Liaison to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and was a member of the U.S. Government delegations to the Global Fund Board and UNAIDS Program Coordinating Board (PCB). His Multilateral Team managed the U.S. Government Global Fund technical assistance portfolio.

I was the USAID Liaison to the Global Fund for many years until late 2011. I was a Board delegation member, and my Multilateral Team managed U.S. Government technical assistance. As the U.S. Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, I still work on the Global Fund through staffing Alliance Executive Director Alvaro Bermejo as Board Member and supporting Alliance Linking Organizations implementing Global Fund grants and Technical Support Hubs.

The Global Fund has undoubtedly needed to reform.  I will continue to assess progress based on how it reflects core principles from the Framework Document including:

  • National ownership

National ownership is more than government ownership.  Civil society has indispensable roles to play in national responses.  The Global Fund has recognized these roles through dual-track financing and CCM requirements.  The Alliance expressed concerns when the staffing changes instituted by General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo resulted in the loss of most staff working on civil society and CCMs.  The new Executive Director should bolster staff to maintain and build on hard-fought gains.

National ownership means that countries must understand their epidemiological contexts and the combination of interventions most appropriate to those contexts. They must not neglect the critical enablers, including community mobilization, outlined in the Investment Framework for HIV/AIDS. The Global Fund must incentivize countries to, to quote UNAIDS, know their epidemics and know their responses.

In September 2012, the Board approved the elements of a New Funding Model (NFM). The NFM, in particular its iterative process and country dialogue, is both an opportunity to maximize value for money and a challenge to maintain the vital involvement of civil society. The new Executive Director should make sure that the Global Fund seizes this opportunity and addresses this challenge.

  • Balance among regions, diseases, and interventions

The Board has long debated eligibility and prioritization criteria. The Board has made certain middle-income countries ineligible and has appropriately prioritized countries with the greatest need (highest disease burden) and the least ability to pay (lowest per capita income). As the Global Fund – as well as bilateral donors – focuses increasingly on low-income countries, they must recognize that the majority of people living with HIV are now in middle-income ones. We must maintain critical funding for MARPs and concentrated epidemics. The MARPs reserve in Round 10 is a good model for maintaining this critical funding. The new Executive Director should strive for the Global Fund to address people infected with and affected by all three diseases wherever they are.

  • Accountability

What has made the Global Fund most unique is its performance-based funding principle. While the Global Fund must work to maximize predictability and minimize transaction costs, it will lose its raison d’être if it does so at the expense of this principle. Donors have been willing to provide unprecedented resources to the Global Fund because they had confidence that these resources would do the most good for the most people. The new Executive Director would best reinforce that confidence through a focus on internal management as opposed to external relations.