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Pandemic preparedness fund

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    16th Sep, 2022

Context

To counter financial obstacles, weak infrastructure, scarcity of healthcare, etc, the World Bank Board of Directors has approved setting up a Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response (PPR).

What is Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF)?

  • FIF is aimed to address critical gaps through investments and technical support at the national, regional, and global levels.
  • The fund will provide a dedicated stream of additional, long-term financing to strengthen PPR capabilities in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Financial Intermediary Funds (FIFs) provide the global development community with independently governed multi-contributor collaboration platforms.
  • FIFs are designed to mobilize significant financial support and engender collective action for development priorities, often contributing to global public goods.
  • At the heart of each FIF is a type of trust fund for which the World Bank serves as trustee.

Who developed the plan?

  • The FIF for pandemic PPR is put forward by G20 in the presidency of Italy.
  • During a G20 Summit in 2021, under Italy's presidency, it was decided to establish G20 Joint Finance-Health Task Force for pandemic preparedness.
  • The FIF is also established by the strong support of the G20 nations and beyond.
  • At present, calls for the proposal for investments funded by the FIF will open in November 2022.
The FIF has commitments from India, the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada, China, the European Commission, the Republic of Korea, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Welcome Trust.

What is the structure of the PPR FIF?

PPR FIF will have four main elements:

  • Governing board - the decision-making body of the FIF that sets the overall work program and makes funding decisions;
    • A secretariat performing administrative functions, including support to the governing board in the delivery of its responsibilities,
  • Financial trustee served by the World Bank, and
  • The FIF implementing entities to carry out the FIF’s work program at the country, regional and global levels.

Why is there a need for a FIF on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR)?

  • Lack of investment: Pandemic preparedness and response are quintessential “global public goods”. Despite these facts, investment in pandemic preparedness and response has been insufficient.
  • Panic-neglect cycle:The frequency of pandemic events has increased in the past decades and the global pandemic response has typically followed cycles of panic followed by neglect. 

How would this new fund help?

  • Saving resources: Investing now will save lives and resources for the years to come.
  • Bridging of financial gaps: The fund will provide long-term financing to low or middle-income countries to bridge the gaps that they face during a pandemic.
  • Strengthening of the health system: The new FIF on PPR will help focus and sustain much-needed high-level attention on strengthening health systems.
  • Building capacity: As per the WHO, FIF will help in building PPR capacity in zoonotic disease surveillance, emergency communication, management, laboratories, community engagement, critical health workforce, etc.
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