EUROPE – Following a bilateral meeting held by WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Federal Minister of Health of Germany, Mr. Jens Spahn, Germany has pledged to back the World Health Organization (WHO) in the fight against COVID-19.

During the event, Minister Spahn announced the donation of 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and signed with Dr Tedros a new funding agreement of  €260 million (US$307m)to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) through WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.

Minister Spahn reaffirmed the continued support from Germany to WHO’s work and highlighted the leadership role WHO is playing in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Only continued close multilateral cooperation and joint political action will enable us to overcome the current pandemic and to strengthen the preparedness and resilience of health Systems for Future Challenger” said Minister Spahn. He added, “Therefore, strengthening WHO is of utmost importance for the global community. Germany feels strongly committed to this goal.“

This meeting continues to strengthen Germany’s relationship with WHO that has had Germany contribute close to US$750million to WHO, including more than US$500 million to its COVID-19 response.

The new agreement brings Germany’s contribution to more than US$1 billion for the biennium 2020 – 2021, and confirms its position as the top contributor to WHO. 

Dr Tedros acknowledged Germany’s leadership, with its early and significant contribution to ACT-A that provided a major boost to the global response and set an important precedent for other countries to follow.

He also highlighted WHO’s strong ties and fruitful collaboration with Germany. The recently announced establishment of the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin is the latest example of this partnership. 

He also appreciated Germany’s acknowledgement of WHO’s important leadership and coordination role in the COVID-19 response and financial support to WHO to continue its technical work on prequalification, evidence review and production of guidelines across all ACT-A pillars.

This support makes possible the response across the world and is critical in particular to reach and serve the most vulnerable. 

Dr Tedros also welcomed Germany’s support for the idea of a treaty on pandemic preparedness and response. It is one of the subjects that WHO Member States will be addressing within the Open-Ended Working Group on Strengthening WHO Preparedness and Response to health emergencies.

The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, was a groundbreaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines launched at the end of April 2020.

Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, and philanthropists and global health organizations (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEPI, FIND, Gavi, The Global Fund, Unitaid, Wellcome, the WHO, and the World Bank).

Following the ACT-Accelerator launch, UNICEF and PAHO became delivery partners for COVAX, the vaccines pillar.

COVAX Facility has delivered 121 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 136 countries and territories in the first half of 2021.