What is your evaluation of this meeting and what do you think its short-term results will be?
"I think that it left us with a quite positive result because it is the first time that we have held a meeting that dealt with specific cross-cutting topics of the Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs). It discussed extremely important topics such as the question of funding the CCMs, defining the supervision role of the CCMs in a very concise manner, the positioning of the private sector and what are the possibilities of increasing its participation.
"All of these are tactical topics. A tactic, which is circumstantial and a very specific action, is not the only important issue. Strategy is important as well. We must not confuse tactics with a strategy and it is a mistake which we are all tempted to make: the CCMs, the Secretariat of the Global Fund, the Board of Directors and the agencies."
And what would be the strategic topics to take into consideration?
"In strategic terms, I think that there are two very clear issues: The first is that you cannot build a coordinating mechanism, whether at a country or regional level, which is not based on the consensus. We will tirelessly repeat that one has to get out of the mode of conflict dynamics in order to go into a consensus dynamics. Intelligent, respectful consensus without imposing other points of view.
"A negotiation consensus but not a negotiation in which one sector reaps all the benefits because that is not negotiation either. The second strategic point is the positioning of Latin America versus the real world which is undeniable."
In terms of this point, how would you evaluate the region on a short-term basis?
"I think the coming year is going to be a critical year. I don't know if there will be enough time to prepare a strong positioning strategy at the moment, but Latin America can indeed be a protagonist in the discussion and deserves a leading role. However, to play a leading role there has to be a policy agenda that involves several key elements.
"We need to be innovative in what we propose to the international community. A region with an epidemic concentration like ours, with the level of income per capita that the countries have – despite the social inequalities – we have to be innovative."
And how could you be innovative?
"Innovative in the sense that we have to stop spending money and really invest it. Strong conceptual changes must be made in the way we conceive the projects going from the logic of the project to the logic of the programme. One cannot structure the response based on multiplying the fragmented projects where each one is on his own.
"Another element that seems to be critical from a policy agenda perspective is to continue utilising the ability of local technical assistance the way it is used in Round 9. I think it has been proven that Latin America can produce clear and concise proposals."
What are the exact recommendations when faced with this panorama?
Mainly to abandon the fragmented concept of permanent negotiation in the CCMs so that it can become an environment of constructive debate and not a setting where some policies are determined. Policy-making for the sake of policy-making is not very positive in this case.
"All the sectors have to reverse its way of interacting and try to imagine a scenario in which the national programme would be a State project and not a Government project or one sole sector project; it should be one sole project that contemplates the different variables of the distinct human groups of people."
Interview by Alejandra Ruffo and Mirta Ruiz
Key Correspondent Team – Asuncion, 11/12/09