The Fund Secretariat was established in 1991 in Montreal, Canada. It assists the Executive Committee in the discharge of its functions. Its activities include: development of the three-year plan and budget and a system for fund disbursement; management of the business planning cycle of the Multilateral Fund; monitoring the expenditures and activities of the implementing agencies; preparation of policy papers and other documents; review and assessment of investment projects, country programmes and the business plans and work programmes of the implementing agencies; liaison between the Committee, governments and implementing agencies; and servicing meetings of the Executive Committee. The Secretariat also includes the monitoring and evaluation Function which was established by the Executive Committee in May 1997.
The Fund Secretariat is not mandated to implement projects and programmes but to ensure that the objectives of the Multilateral Fund are adhered to and to provide liaison between the Executive Committee, governments and implementing agencies.
The separation of the management of the Multilateral Fund from its implementation activities has proven to be effective in maintaining the credibility and independence of the Multilateral Fund by fostering the development of the operational policies needed to achieve cost efficiency in a largely grant-based programme. It has enabled the Fund Secretariat to apply a rigorous project review procedure applicable to all funding requests submitted to the Executive Committee. This is reinforced by an open, transparent and dynamic policy development process undertaken by the Fund Secretariat in cooperation with the implementing agencies. The project review process enables support of all funding requests that meet the Executive Committee’s approval criteria but often at a lower level than originally requested, leading to significant savings.