Learning from the experience of vertical funds

Vertical funds are multistakeholder global programs that provide earmarked funding for specified purposes. This brief presents a series of lessons learned from vertical fund experiences that are applicable to scaling up in agriculture and rural development. It draws on the experience of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as other funds with substantial operational programs at the country level. It also draws on the experience of the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) movement, a multistakeholder global program without a vertical fund that is directly relevant to agriculture and rural development.

While the emphasis here is on learning from mistakes and challenges of vertical funds, it is important to note at the start the areas where they provide positive lessons. These include (i) a focus on results, in most cases outputs and in some cases outcomes; (ii) the inclusion of civil society and the private sector, in addition to governments, in governance; (iii) transparency in what they finance; (iv) innovation and adaptation; and (v) proven effectiveness in assisting developing countries to scale up. These positive lessons have already had a broad influence on international agreements for aid effectiveness.

This brief is one of series on scaling up in agriculture, rural development, and nutrition.

Bezanson, Keith
Isenman, Paul
Shakow, Alex
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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
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