G20 countries seek sustainable funding mechanism for future pandemic response
Finance ministers and central bank governors of G20 countries are seeking a sustainable international financing system to build global resilience against potential future pandemics and reduce gaps in health systems between countries.
Financial leaders addressed the issues on Thursday, either in person or virtually, at a two-day G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting in Jakarta, with Indonesia as the host country, reports the Xinhua news agency.
Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told G20 participants at a roundtable that the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed that the global health system is not ready enough to deal with the pandemic and that the global financing system is still inadequate.
“Therefore, G20 member countries should collaborate to build a more resilient global health system which will, indeed, require greater mobilization of investment and financial resources,” she said.
World Bank Group President David Malpass has suggested that G20 countries set up multilateral platforms that could help developing and low-income countries emerge from the crisis.
Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stressed that low- and middle-income countries do not have enough resources to deal with the pandemic and need global support.
Thus, she encouraged G20 member countries to ensure “rapid and equitable distribution of vaccines” as one of the simple ways to close the gaps in global pandemic preparedness.
Norway’s Minister for International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, said that in addition to vaccines, countries must also coordinate to build stronger health infrastructures by increasing international investments in health security.
“We must avoid fragmentation and push for inclusiveness. We also need the voices of low-income countries. They must be seen as legitimate,” Tvinnereim said.
Meanwhile, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has proposed a new separate global health fund, directly controlled by donors, as a global investment for pandemic prevention and preparedness.
According to his proposal, the fund will be used to provide emergency funds, vaccines and other medical needs.
Yellen said the fund would also help developing and low-income countries improve surveillance systems to prepare for future crises and help strengthen countries’ health workforces.
Responding to the proposal, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stressed that “any effort to improve the governance, systems and financing of global health security can only succeed if it also strengthens the role of the WHO”.
He said the WHO, with its unique mandate, technical expertise and global legitimacy, should be strengthened and sustainably funded as the organization plays a central role in strengthening the global health architecture.
Indrawati said it would not be an easy and straightforward process to build trust between countries.
“That’s why we’re here to provide a platform to build trust together. We can’t do it alone. We need to be open-minded about the challenges we face and the responsibilities we can shoulder.”
Indrawati noted that the G20 meeting should give impetus to relevant parties to start mobilizing health financing for the importance of public goods.