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Business & Finance

G20 committed to financing better pandemic response

JAKARTA, Indonesia
Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin (left) and Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani (right) at the 1st G20 Joint Finance and Health Ministerial Meeting held in Yogyakarta on Tuesday (21/6/2022).

The G20 members and several relevant international organizations agreed to work
together to create the Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) to help countries in
need to face any pandemic in the future.

During the 1st G20 Joint Finance and Health Ministerial Meeting held in
Yogyakarta on Tuesday, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani emphasized the
urgency for collaborative work between health and finance sectors to better
prepared for future pandemics, considering that the COVID-19 would not be the

“The world is definitely watching us—how the G20 is going to respond with
delivering concrete action in pandemic preparedness and response. The world is
waiting for us,” Mulyani remarked.

Furthermore, she also asserted the importance of inclusivity in the work of
FIF, led together by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank,
which required the involvement of both developed and developing countries.

“Only then, we can be effective in preparing to tackle the next global pandemic
together,” Mulyani stated.

“I would like to acknowledge the central role of the WHO in fighting pandemic
and the importance of including the voice of developing countries in our
institutional arrangement to create the most effective system for pandemic
preparedness and response,” she added.

The 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.

About two-third of that fund could come from existing resources but that leaves
a gap of US$10 billion per year. Hence, he expects that the FIF would help
close that gap.

WHO and the World Bank have been cooperating to establish the FIF, which would
be overseen by a board that takes a decision on funding allocation supported by
a technical advisory panel.

Both the board and the technical advisory panel would be supported by the joint
WHO-WB secretariat based at the Bank’s headquarters in Washington, with
assisting staff from the WHO.

According to the plan, the Bank will provide financial and administrative
leadership at the secretariat, operate as a representative for the FIF, hold
and transfer relief funds, as well as provide administrative services.

Meanwhile, the WHO will provide technical leadership; coordinate input for the
technical advisory panel; and prepare relevant technical documentation,
recommendations, and reports for the council.

Both the World Bank and WHO will act as implementing entities, along with other
global health partners with relevant expertise, including the Global Fund, the
Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the Coalition for
Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

“We look forward to your active participation in building and financing a FIF
that is inclusive, equitable, and effective in making our world safer from
pandemics,” Tedros noted.

To date, the G20 has pushed for an emergency fundraising commitment of around
US$1.1 billion from five member countries and one international social
organization to mobilize the role of FIF.

The pledges came from the United States, the European Union, Germany,
Indonesia, Singapore, and the Wellcome Trust.

Additionally, Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin stated the meeting
was not only focusing on the FIF as the source of funds to face future
pandemics, but the world must also think about the uses of funds.

“Because money is (only) half the solution for the health crisis. We need to
translate this money into access to vaccines, medicines, and diagnostic tools,”
he said at a press conference after the joint ministerial meeting.

In order to create such access, he explained, the engagement with private
sectors as the producers of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics was crucial.

“We need to talk to them, to engage with them. How can they maintain a certain
volume commitment? How then we will be able to distribute equally and very
quickly if the next pandemic happens?” he noted.

The establishment of FIF is still in the ongoing discussion that will be
continued at the next G20 meetings, hosted this year by Indonesia.

However, as the G20 President, Indonesia will continue to gather as much as
possible support from more countries as well as an international organization
even philanthropists, in order for them to be able to contribute to the
financing side of pandemic preparedness and response.