As countries move from managing COVID-19 as an acute emergency to integration into longer-term disease control programmes, the ACT-Accelerator partnership is adjusting its ways of working.
In this context, and given that the last Strategic Plan ran until the end of September 2022, the partnership has launched a six-month transition plan, running from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2022.
The plan outlines changes to ACT-A’s set-up and ways of working, to ensure countries continue to have access to COVID-19 tools in the longer term, while maintaining the coalition’s readiness to help address future disease surges.
Will ACT-A’s work continue?
Yes, ACT-A’s work to enhance equitable access to COVID-19 countermeasures will continue beyond September 2022. The world is transitioning towards managing COVID-19 in the long-term and so must we as a partnership.
The ACT-A Transition Plan very clearly sets out that ACT-A is not stopping its support to countries which rely on us for access to key tools, but is instead adapting to a new reality. We still have work to do to realise our equitable access goals, with a focus on vaccinating priority populations, and rolling out test and treat programmes in countries.
The detail of which scopes of work are continuing, and which are changing or sunsetting, is in the ACT-A Transition Plan.
What will ACT-A partners focus on during the transition plan period?
The next phase of ACT-A’s work will focus on three overarching areas:
Focusing R&D & market shaping activities to ensure a pipeline for new and enhanced COVID-19 tools
Securing institutional arrangements for sustained access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments
Concentrating delivery work on new product introduction (e.g. new oral antivirals) and protection of priority populations, in support of national and international targets
What are the major changes in ACT-A’s operations?
The partnership is adjusting its ways of working and, to some extent, its scope and focus to better support countries as they transition their COVID-19 work into routine health programmes and ensure that countries have sustained access to the COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments they need to manage COVID-19 in the longer term. So, the ‘transition’ is not a transition of ACT-A, rather it describes the context in which ACT-A is working in this next phase.
The main changes to ACT-A’s operations are to consolidate and adjust its ways of working to better reflect demands of the current operating environment. This includes making adjustments to the cadence of coordination meetings or frequency of publication of joint products, sunsetting or scaling back functions or scopes of work that are completed (or no longer needed) and streamlining functions and activities where feasible.
Section 4 of the plan includes information on Pillar activities that will be sunset, maintained, transitioned, or put on standby in the event a reactivation of surge support is needed. Information on how coordination and support functions, e.g., in the Hub, Council and CSO platform, are being maintained is provided in Section 5 of the plan.
An important scope of work for the partnership in this period will be to work out the longer-term institutional arrangements needed to ensure countries have sustained access to COVID-19 tools, so that countries know where and who to go to for support in accessing these tools in the future, as needed.
The transition plan provides some information on activities that will be taken forward by and integrated into the regular work of ACT-A partner agencies. This information can be found in Section 4.
Does ACT-A still require funding? What are the projected needs?
Yes, some ACT-A Pillars and Agencies do require funding to cover their costs during the transition plan period (Oct 2022 to end March 2023).
In recognition that the pandemic and pillar operating contexts have evolved considerably since the last strategic plan and budget was developed in October 2021, a costing exercise was undertaken which estimated that around US$400 million in additional resources may be needed by ACT-A partners to cover activities in this six-month period.
A detailed breakdown can be found in Annex 1 of the document, as well as in the ACT-A financial commitment tracker, which is updated on a monthly basis to reflect additional commitments and pledges made for ACT-A agencies.
What is happening to the Facilitation Council?
The ACT-A Facilitation Council is now in ‘stand-by’ mode, following the 12th Council meeting held on 28 October 2022 and will be reconvened as a full group only if needed.
An ACT-Accelerator Tracking & Monitoring Task Force will continue key elements of the work of the Council, and its Tracking and Accelerating Progress Working Group (TAP WG) and Financial and Resource Mobilization Working Group (FinRM WG).
The Task Force will operate during the period October 2022 to end March 2023 in line with the time frame of the ACT-Accelerator’s 6-month plan.
What is happening to the CSO Platform?
The Platform for ACT-A Civil Society and Community Representatives will focus on four key areas during the ACT-A transition:
Convening and mobilising civil society and community representatives who remain engaged in the workstreams, pillars and the Facilitation Council Tracking & Monitoring Task Force
Sharing key lessons learnt from ACT-A as reflected in the external evaluation and in the internal review of the Platform
Engaging with ACT-A lead agencies to ensure the full and meaningful inclusion of civil society and communities in governance and in organisation’s long term COVID-19 response
Engaging in the creation of new pandemic prevention, preparedness and response mechanisms to ensure lessons learnt from ACT-A inform the design and to ensure the full and meaningful participation of civil society and communities in governance and decision-making structures.
More information can be found on the Platform’s website: https://covid19advocacy.org/
Will there be a permanent ACT-Accelerator? How will the lessons from ACT-A be taken forward in discussions on the future of the global health architecture for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPR)?
Lessons learned from ACT-A agency experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 2 years will be critical contributions to inform future mechanisms for ensuring rapid and equitable access to medical countermeasures going forward.
The ACT-A experience provides important and useful insights on how the world can be better prepared for future health threats. Perspectives from ACT-A agencies and partners on key learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic have been compiled in an addendum to the ACT-A transition plan.
A permanent medical countermeasures platform will build on the success of the ACT Accelerator, the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, and other multilateral initiatives, with engagement from key group like the G20 essential to its success.