G20 ministers launch $1 billion pandemic fund

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Nusa Dua (Indonesia) (AFP) – G20 health and finance ministers on Sunday launched a $1.4 billion fund to fight the next global pandemic ahead of the bloc’s leaders gathering for a summit on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, but the Host president said that was not enough.

The 24-nation fund is seen as one of the early global outcomes of next week’s summit where little progress is expected on the Ukraine crisis in the absence of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It was launched at a press conference opened by Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Sunday and addressed by World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and World Bank President David Malpass.

“The G20 agrees to establish a pandemic fund to prevent and prepare for a pandemic. G20 donors and non-G20 members, as well as philanthropic organizations, have contributed to the funds. not enough,” Widodo said in a video. address.

He said $31 billion was needed to fight the next global pandemic.

“We must ensure the resilience of communities in the face of a pandemic. A pandemic can no longer take lives and destroy the joints of the global economy.”

The United States contributed $450 million to the fund, nearly a third of the total.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the pooled fund was an example of what the G20 can do to solve global problems.

“I am proud of what we have achieved. I believe the steps we have taken this year will help realize the vision of a healthier and more responsive global health architecture,” she said.

Indonesia was at one time an epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic when a wave of Delta strain cases hit the country in mid-2021.

Its health system was overwhelmed by the number of infections and Jakarta produced its own local vaccine as low-income countries grew frustrated with more developed countries hoarding vaccines for their citizens.

The main donors to the fund are the United States, Great Britain, India, China, France, Canada, Australia and Japan.

“We come together at a time of multiple crises…this new dedicated fund is an important tool that will help low- and middle-income countries better prepare for global health crises,” said Malpass, who urged more countries to commit to the fund. .

“The pandemic fund can help make the world safer.”

Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told a press conference on Saturday that Saudi Arabia was to contribute to the fund, without specifying the amount.

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