While managing the grants, UNDP simultaneously works to develop the capacity of governments and/or civil society organisations to serve as PRs when circumstances permit. It works to develop national capacity with a focus on long-term sustainability, leveraging UNDP’s global experience and its expertise in capacity development.
Capacity Development is central to all of UNDP’s programmes, especially through setting up flexible implementation arrangements, giving SRs increasing levels of responsibility, and through the design of the implementation arrangements which ensure that national systems are used for key functions such as programming, Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E), forecasting and supply chain management. Utilisation of national systems helps to strengthen them.
The actual implementation of Global Fund grants is aligned with national disease responses to ensure that any capacity development interventions benefit the national programmes. Greater ownership is built by ensuring the programme performance indicators are aligned to national strategies. In order to build resilience and to ensure greater sustainability services are delivered by national government, NGOs and private sector entities. UNDP is not directly involved in implementation with the exception of pooled procurement where international competitive bidding through long-term agreements (LTAs) ensures value for money and a reduction in costs. However, in procurement national entities normally have central roles in forecasting and quantification to allow orders to be placed, as well as the storage and distribution once the orders have been received.
This focus on national systems for health helps to ensure that country infrastructure, information systems, procedures and management are enhanced with the aim of both improving and sustaining the performance of the national programmes and Global Fund grants. The comprehensive capacity development strategy of enhancing national health systems, rather than the more traditional, narrower approach of training and technical assistance (TA), creates greater resilience by reducing the impact of the brain drain, which is a perennial issue in most health systems.
Putting in place structures with appropriate roles and responsibilities to manage national programmes and Global Fund grants, with performance based TORs, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), together with supporting guidance templates and software, reduces the dependence on a small number of core staff and accelerates the recruitment and orientation of new staff.