Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Sunday launched a G20 Pandemic Fund that seeks to improve global preparedness for future pandemics while calling for more donors to join the effort.
The Financial Intermediary Fund for Pandemic Preparedness, Prevention and Response — simply known as the Pandemic Fund — has secured more than $1.4 billion in financial commitments to date from at least 24 country donors and three philanthropists.
“The money raised, however, is not enough. I hope for bigger support for the Pandemic Fund,” Widodo said in a video address.
Some of the countries and philanthropic organisations known to have contributed to the fund include Indonesia, the US, the European Union, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Widodo cited a study by the World Bank and World Health Organisation (WHO) at the beginning of 2022 that estimated that $31.1 billion a year is needed to fund a system to prevent, prepare, and respond to future pandemics.
The president also invited more support for initiatives such as the platform for a coordinated health emergency response, international genome data to support pathogen monitoring, vaccine certification to ensure safe global travel, and more research centres.
World Bank Group president David Malpass said the fund is expected to incentivise countries to prioritise their agenda and increase efforts in preparing for any future health crises. He said besides the 24 donors, additional pledges are forthcoming.
“The Pandemic Fund can help make the world safer,” Malpass said. “Every dollar we mobilise for the fund that can be invested now in low and middle-income countries will save lives and reduce cost for the world for years to come.”
The World Bank serves as the fund’s trustee, while the WHO is advising on the facility.
Indonesia’s finance minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, said the fund is expected to receive contributions from France and Saudi Arabia without disclosing details, Reuters reported on Sunday.
“The Pandemic Fund hence becomes the catalytic fund for further long-term support from all bilateral as well as multilateral institutions. We encourage participation from philanthropic and private sectors,” Indrawati said.