INDONESIA – The Group of 20 (G20) major economies aims to raise US$1.5 billion this year for a fund set up to better prepare for future pandemics, the health minister of current G20 president Indonesia has said.
The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for international economic cooperation. The members of the G20 are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, and Italy.
Other members include Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.
Each year, the presidency invites guest countries to participate. Spain is invited as a permanent guest.
G20 countries have provisionally agreed to set up a multi-billion-dollar fund that health officials have said will finance efforts like surveillance, research, and better access to vaccination for lower-to-middle income countries, among others.
Through the G20 forum, Indonesia will encourage the strengthening of global health resilience and help make the global health system more inclusive, equitable, and responsive to crises.
Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in an interview the United States, European Union, Indonesia, Singapore and Germany have pledged about US$1.1 billion to the fund so far.
“If we can get by the end of this year US$1.5 billion of fresh funding, we will be very, very happy,” he told Reuters, adding he hopes the group can raise another US$1.5 billion next year.
Indonesia will host the G20 leaders’ summit in Bali in November.
Indonesia has chosen global health architecture as one of its key priority issues during this year’s G20 presidency following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic that has had a multidimensional impact on the global community.
Through the G20 forum, Indonesia will encourage the strengthening of global health resilience and help make the global health system more inclusive, equitable, and responsive to crises, according to Antaranews.com.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank estimated that US$31 billion is required annually for strengthening global health security, according to WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The World Bank, which will house the fund, and the World Health Organization (WHO), which is advising on the facility, estimated in a report that the annual funding gap for pandemic preparedness is US$10.5 billion.
The World Bank has said the fund is expected to be operational this year, and Budi said the structure for the fund could be established in a few months’ time.
Budi said he will start discussing contributions to the fund with countries like Japan and Britain at a G20 health ministers meeting in Indonesia next week.
“Pandemic is a war, and we have to be ready with enough money when war happens,” he said.
The United States and Indonesia have been pushing for the establishment of the fund to help the world be better prepared to tackle future pandemics, but the WHO has been concerned the fund could undermine its own efforts and those of other global health mechanisms.
But Budi said the WHO will play “a leadership role” in identifying which countries would need the fund or provide other countermeasures.
Liked this article? Sign up to receive our regular email newsletters, focused on Africa and World’s healthcare industry, directly into your inbox. SUBSCRIBE HERE