IV. Negotiating, Reviewing and Signing the Partnership Framework


For the USG, the Chief of Mission or his/her designee should lead the team negotiating the Partnership Framework. Negotiation teams should represent all USG agencies supporting HIV/AIDS activities in the country. Negotiation support may be made available from Department of State and other PEPFAR agency headquarters, if requested. On the country side, Partnership Frameworks should be negotiated by the highest level of government feasible.


1. Optional joint review

While it is anticipated that both the USG and partner government will conduct internal reviews of draft Partnership Frameworks, in order to ensure transparency and buy-in, countries should consider conducting a joint review that involves key stakeholders involved in development and implementation of the Partnership Framework. It is anticipated that those participating in such a review would be of a higher level within their organization than those on the design team. If opting to carry out a joint review, inclusive in the plan and timeline for Framework development, as described in Section II.A.1, above, Partnership Framework design teams should define, with full government agreement, the joint review process, including review criteria, participants, and timing.

2. USG review and clearance process

The USG will follow the process outlined below to review and clear Partnership Framework documents.

STEP 1A: Preliminary review of Partnership Framework

In order to facilitate a smooth review, as the elements of the Partnership Framework and Implementation Plan take shape, USG teams should informally share annotated outlines or first drafts with their Country Support Team for early and iterative feedback. Once a complete draft of the Partnership Framework is completed, but before a joint review, it must be shared with the Partnership Framework Review Team for a "preliminary review." An interagency team, chaired by the Deputy Principals, will review the draft against the following "big picture" review criteria and provide the design team with feedback/guidance:

  • Demonstrates a strong strategic vision for the Partnership on HIV/AIDS over five years that builds towards long-term sustainability;
  • Concrete actions that increase country ownership and enhance government (national, provincial, district, village) capacity to plan, oversee, deliver, finance, and manage programs;
  • Sets ambitious but feasible goals for delivery of prevention, care and treatment services in identified target populations;
  • Contains a realistic policy reform agenda (e.g., describes various procedural steps required under nation's law for the targeted policy reforms to be realized - i.e., which government bodies must do what and in what order);
  • Appropriately addresses health system and capacity challenges;
  • Addresses specific gender dynamics and issues of gender inequity;
  • Goals and objectives support the National HIV Strategy;
  • Framework objectives will lead to achievement of goals;
  • Builds on national plans and describes an effective joint governance structure for the Partnership using existing coordination mechanisms where possible;
  • Demonstrates reasonable expectations and accountability of government and other partners (civil society, private sector and others) to achieve goals; explicitly references GFATM and how the USG will be positioned to help strengthen government management and oversight of resources.
  • Reflects a strong consultative process;
  • Reflects joint, coordinated programming among all partners;
  • Explicitly lays out other partner activities and roles in National HIV Strategy;
  • Proposed allocation of resources is appropriate for the goals;
  • Follows PEPFAR and country policy.

A concurrent preliminary legal and USG policy review will take place. After receiving comments from headquarters, country teams should complete negotiations and finalize the Partnership Framework. They should then move forward with completing the more detailed Partnership Framework Implementation Plan.

STEP 1B: Final review and clearance for Partnership Framework

Once internal (country and USG) clearances are complete, the proposed Partnership Framework should be submitted to headquarters through the country's Country Support Team Lead for final legal review and clearance.

STEP 2A: Preliminary Review of Partnership Framework Implementation Plan

As with the Partnership Framework, USG teams are strongly encouraged to share early drafts of the Partnership Framework Implementation Plan with their Country Support Team for ongoing feedback. Once a first draft of the Partnership Framework Implementation Plan is completed, country teams must submit the draft to their Country Support Team Lead for review by an interagency team chaired by the Deputy Principals, against the following criteria:

  • Implementation Plan supports the Partnership Framework;
  • Strengthened country ownership and capacity is supported throughout all goals and objectives;
  • Baseline information provides good understanding of current state of service delivery, health systems, policy development, mapping of in-country donor activity, and HIV funding;
  • Identifies and addresses key policy barriers to adequately address the HIV/AIDS epidemic over the long-term;
  • Addresses healthcare workforce and gender issues;
  • Describes HIV response and how it fits with broader global health issues (i.e. TB, family planning, etc)
  • Demonstrates coordinated financing that meets cost-sharing requirements, and moves, where possible, toward greater country (government and private) support (including GFATM resources);
  • Contributes to strengthened health systems in areas needed for the greatest direct impact on the HIV epidemic, including national data systems;
  • Reflects aggressive but feasible plan for increasingly transitioning programs to government ownership over time;
  • Shifts emphasis of USG-based partners from implementation to technical assistance and capacity building of country government and local implementing partners;
  • Wherever possible, integrates the activities of other partners (i.e. GFATM, UN system, bilateral donors, and major foundations) into transitioning plans;
  • Appropriate contributions are expected from all partners;
  • Includes well-designed monitoring plan to measure progress, financing and impact, including Framework partners' reporting and accountability structures;
  • Describes a strong management plan and partner communication and management framework.

After receiving comments from HQ, country teams should work with their partners to address any issues raised and finalize the Partnership Framework Implementation Plan.

STEP 2B: Final review and clearance for Partnership Framework Implementation Plan

Once internal (country and USG) clearances are complete, the proposed Partnership Framework Implementation Plan should be submitted to headquarters through the country's Country Support Team Lead for final legal review and clearance.


After the final review and once all necessary clearances have been obtained, the Chief of Mission or his/her designee, the government representative(s), and other signatories should sign the document. A copy of the signed document should be provided to all signatories as well as to OGAC and other agency headquarters. USG legislation requires that the Global AIDS Coordinator submit the final Partnership Frameworks to Congress, publish them in the Federal Register, and post them on the OGAC Internet website within 10 days of signing. The final signed Partnership Framework should also be translated as appropriate, made publicly available, and widely distributed to other stakeholders representing civil society, NGOs, other donors, international organizations, and the private sector to facilitate implementation and monitoring in the country. If the country wishes to sign the Partnership Framework or the Implementation Plan in another language, the USG team should inform its Country Support Team Lead and provide an informal translation of the document for review by the Department of State's Office of Language Services.

1. Considerations regarding signatories

Partnership Frameworks should be signed by representatives of the USG and government (or multiple participating governments or regional partnerships in the case of regional frameworks). The government, in dialogue with the USG, should be the final determinant of whether formal signatory roles should be assigned to entities other than itself and the USG. In the case of regional programs, special considerations will need to be applied when determining negotiation and signatory practices.

General considerations in determining how many signatures are needed and who should sign include:

US Government: The Chief of Mission or his/her designee should sign on behalf of the USG.

Government (National Level): Signatories should be able to exercise some control over the allocation of resources planned in the Partnership Framework and influence over those implementing the actions outlined in the Framework. The government signatory should coordinate with all relevant ministries to ensure effective implementation. For these reasons, signature on behalf of the government should generally be sought at the Ministerial level or above. If success of the Partnership Framework depends on buy-in from a specific Ministry or government office, the signature of a representative from that Ministry or office should be considered.

Country Government (Sub-National Level): Sub-national signatories may be appropriate if the national government approves and critical activities in the Partnership Framework require involvement of lower levels of government. Signature of national level government is still essential.

International Organizations: Governments may opt to have the GFATM, UNAIDS, or another international organization sign the Partnership Framework. In the case of the GFATM it is likely that this would occur at either the Country Coordinating Mechanism or Principal Recipient level.

Civil Society and Private Sector: Governments may opt to include as additional signatories civil society and private sector organizations such as umbrella groups, PLWA groups, local business coalitions, etc.

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