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BRIEFJuly 20, 2023

FAQ: Pandemic Fund First Round of Funding Allocations

What was the envelope for the first Call for Proposals and how was it determined? Why was the envelope size relatively small compared to the resources that the Pandemic Fund has already raised?

The size of the envelope approved by the Board was up to US$350 million. The envelope was relatively small vis-à-vis the total resources of the Pandemic Fund because the Board would like this first Call for Proposals to serve as a learning exercise. The Pandemic Fund aims to release another Call for Proposals by the end of 2023, taking into account lessons learned for the benefit of future applicants.

How many applications were received, covering how many countries, and for how much in grant requests?  

In May of this year, the Pandemic Fund closed its first Call for Proposals and received a total of 179 applications from 133 countries with requests for over US$2.5 billion in grants (representing around eight times the resource envelope that had been set for the first Call). The proposals focused on the three priorities of the first Call, namely, strengthening disease surveillance, laboratory capacity, and the public health work force. This level of demand clearly shows that countries want to invest in pandemic prevention and preparedness.

How were proposals reviewed?

All submitted proposals underwent an initial eligibility check to ensure applications were complete and proposed projects working through eligible implementing entities in eligible countries (IDA and IBRD eligible countries). All 135 eligible applications were then reviewed by the Pandemic Fund’s Technical Advisory Panel (TAP). The TAP is a panel of 21 independent multidisciplinary experts tasked with providing technical advice on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response to the Pandemic Fund Governing Board. The TAP reviewed all eligible proposals using a standardized scorecard, rating all proposals as highly recommended for funding, recommended for funding, and not recommended for funding based on the results of TAP expert review.  Of the eligible applications, 49 were rated as recommended or highly recommended for funding under this Call for Proposals, 86 were rated as not recommended for funding.

What were the criteria used by the TAP to evaluate proposals?

The scoring criteria used by the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) to evaluate the proposals had six unique elements: context, rational, objectives & demonstrated need; scope, priority areas/core capacities/alignment with and contribution to the Pandemic Fund Results Framework/Monitoring and Evaluation; ownership, commitment and co-investment; co-financing and overall available funding; coordination, collaboration, and co-creation; and implementation.

Each of these sections had specific weights attached to them to equal a total score of 130.  To ensure transparency in the process, the scoring criteria were posted on the Pandemic Fund website along with all other key application documents.

What were the criteria that the Board used to make its final decisions around funding allocation?

At the Fifth Governing Board meeting of the Pandemic Fund, the Board decided to use three criteria (listed in order of priority) to select from the proposals that were recommended by the TAP for funding and construct a diverse portfolio of projects to be funded under the first Call for Proposals:

  • Geographical distribution (by World Bank Group regions);
  • Income group (a mix of low-, lower-middle-, and upper-middle-income/high-income countries, with a priority for low- and lower-middle-income countries);
  • Type of Implementing Entity (a mix of Multilateral Development Banks and United Nations organizations/global health initiative)

Fragile and Conflict-affected Situations (FCS) were factored in as a consideration as the Governing Board examined possible portfolio scenarios.

How much funding was allocated under the first Call?

The Governing Board approved an amount of $338 million for the first funding allocation.


What are the key characteristics of the portfolio funded by the first call?

The 19 selected proposals focus on the three priority areas of the first Call for Proposals and will benefit 37 countries. The selected proposals include at least two single-country proposals from each of the World Bank Group regions. Over 75% of the projects supported by the first Call are in low and lower-middle income countries. The projects involve a variety of Implementing Entities. These projects support the Pandemic Fund’s objectives to bring additional, dedicated resources for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response, incentivize countries to increase investments, enhance coordination among partners, and serve as a platform for advocacy.

In keeping with the Pandemic Fund’s mission to catalyze funding and promote coordination, the $338 million of grants awarded will mobilize over $2 billion in additional resources, adding $6 for each $1 coming from the Fund. Many of the projects involve collaboration between countries, UN agencies and Multilateral Development Banks. In responding to this call for proposals, countries have mobilized civil society and networks of delivery partners. Many of the projects involve cross-border and regional collaboration, a One Health approach—a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach, and consideration for gender and equity.

What is the role of Implementing Entities in this first round of funding?

The Pandemic Fund will channel its financing  through the Implementing Entities that have been approved to date by the Board to support project implementation. There are currently thirteen implementing entities approved for project implementation: African Development Bank; Asian Development Bank; Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; European Investment Bank; Inter-American Development Bank; International Finance Corporation; World Bank; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; UNICEF; World Health Organization; the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (note: the European Investment Bank, African Development Bank, and Global Fund did not participate in this Call for Proposals). Seven Implementing Entities will be involved in providing implementation support to these projects, among which, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, and UNICEF, as well as Multilateral Development Banks.  Many of the funded projects involve collaboration between countries, UN agencies and Multilateral Development Banks. In responding to this Call for Proposals, countries have also mobilized Civil Society Organizations and networks of delivery partners. The Board has approved an Accreditation Framework that will allow for new implementing entities to be approved in subsequent calls.

Were Civil Society Organizations involved in the Call for Proposal?

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) were not eligible to submit proposals for funding; however, they were engaged in the process of preparing proposals. The evaluation of the proposals included considerations on whether the project was developed in an inclusive and participatory manner to include the involvement of CSOs, community organizations, vulnerable groups and marginalized populations, including details of how all actors have been involved in proposal development. Attention was given to the way the proposed projects would integrate considerations around gender, vulnerable and marginalized populations, human rights, and broader equity considerations.

The Pandemic Fund’s governance structure  includes two voting seats for CSOs to ensure the voice and perspective  of civil society in decisions.

What happens with proposals that didn’t receive funding?

All applicants have been notified about the outcome of the process and will be provided with detailed feedback. We encourage all applicants to stay in close touch with the Fund to learn about new funding calls and opportunities for collaboration.

How can I learn more about why my proposal was not selected?

The Pandemic Fund Secretariat has reached out individually to each applicant to inform them about the outcome of the process. All applicants will be provided detailed feedback in the coming weeks.

If my proposal was not selected under the first Call, can I resubmit in the next round of funding?

There will be opportunities to resubmit in future Calls for Proposals. The first Call generated requests for funding from an overwhelming number of high quality of proposals against a limited envelope - we received nearly 179 proposals with grant requests totaling $2.5 billion. We encourage you to stay in close touch with the Fund, to learn about new funding calls and opportunities for collaboration.


What was the timeline for allocating funds to proposals?

  • Launch of the first round of funding: January 31, 2023
  • Submission of Expression of Interests (EOI). This was a voluntary step and over 600 EoIs were received: February 3 -24, 2023
  • Call for proposals opened on March 3 and closed on May 19, 2023. 179 proposals were received: March 3 – May 19, 2023
  • Screening of proposals for eligibility performed by the Secretariat. Review of eligible proposals by the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP). The TAP met in Geneva from June 22 – 25, 2023 to finalize recommendations to the Governing Board: May 19, 2023 - June 30, 2023
  • Review of eligible proposals by the Governing Board: July 1- 18, 2023
  • Pandemic Fund Governing Board met to decide on funding allocation: July 19, 202


What is the timeline between those proposals selected, allocation of funding, and implementation?

The timeline varies upon each individual proposal depending upon whether the Implementing Entity has received internal Board approval to proceed with the implementation of the project. Implementing Entities have until December 2023 to obtain formal approval according to their own internal rules and procedures. As of January 2024, all projects should be effective.


How will you track progress/ monitor results for those proposals selected?

The Pandemic Fund has adopted a Results Framework. Each Implementing Entity that receives financing from the Pandemic Fund to channel to projects will report annually on progress and results for all activities and is required to include project-and/or country- and regional level indicators expressed through a Results Framework against which its performance will be monitored and assessed and will demonstrate alignment with the Pandemic Fund’s Results Framework.


When is the next call for proposals?

The Pandemic Fund Governing Board aims to launch the second Call for Proposals by the end of 2023, based on lessons learned from the first Call for Proposals.