Countries from around the world reiterated their commitments to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic through financial pledges totaling more than $3 billion in new funding at the second Global COVID-19 Summit on Thursday.
The virtual summit, co-hosted by the United States, Belize, Germany, Indonesia, and Senegal, brought together world leaders, NGOs, and the private sector in support of the COVID-19 response.
Leading up to the summit, the ACT-Accelerator — a unique platform for cooperation aimed at accelerating global efforts in the fight against COVID-19 — had less than $3 billion of the $16.8 billion in direct funding called for in 2022 to get vaccines, tests, and treatments to countries in need. ACT-A estimates $31.1 billion in complementary financing is needed to end the pandemic.
“Although reported cases and deaths are now decreasing globally, it is misguided to think this pandemic is over,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said in a speech at the summit.
COVID-19 cases are increasing in more than 70 countries, variants remain a threat, testing rates are “plummeting” and 1 billion people in lower-income countries remain unvaccinated, he explained. Only 13% of people in low-income countries are vaccinated.
Dr. Tedros emphasized the dire need to vaccinate 70% of countries with a priority on the most at-risk communities. He called for policy commitments to boost vaccination testing and treatment, investment in local production, financial commitments to fund the ACT-Accelerator and WHO’s Strategic Preparedness, Readiness and Response Plan, and political commitment to support the Financial Intermediary Fund.
Both developing and developed countries announced their commitments to speed up the COVID-19 recovery process. With enough support, 12 developing countries pledged to reach global vaccination targets including Belize, 70% by September; Indonesia, 70% by June; Nigeria, 70% by December; Pakistan, 90% by summer 2022; Rwanda, 70% by June; and Tanzania, 70% by fall 2022.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who said the country wants to “lead by example,” announced 850 million euros (nearly US$882 million) to strengthen the capacity of poorer countries to increase vaccination rates, and 50 million euros (nearly US$53 million) for the pandemic preparedness fund.
Several other G7 countries announced commitments to the ACT-Accelerator, including Canada, which confirmed CA$732 million (approximately US$561 million) from its 2022 budget; Italy, which committed 200 million euros (approximately US$207 million), and France, which committed 150 million euros (nearly US$156 million) and an additional 70 million euros (nearly US$73 million) to strengthen vaccine production capacity in developing countries.
We’re working with partners from around the world to beat this pandemic. At today’s Global COVID-19 Summit, I announced new funding for the Access to COVID-19 Tools-Accelerator – which helps low- and middle-income countries access COVID-19 tests, treatments, vaccines, and PPE. pic.twitter.com/Recm3x9GFj— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 12, 2022
What’s more, Indonesia called for global empowerment of developing countries, stressing a need for health technology transfer and cooperation rather than monopolies on health supply chains. South Korea committed US$300 million to the ACT-Accelerator over three years.
African countries also made calls for solidarity, with both Senegal and South Africa asking for support for mRNA manufacturing and for global institutions to buy vaccines from African producers to sustain their capacity. African countries aim to reach 200 million tests by the end of 2022.
“The pandemic is not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere,” Dr. Tedros said.