World Bank Board Approves New Fund for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPR)

The
devastating human, economic, and social cost of COVID-19 has highlighted the
urgent need for coordinated action to build stronger health systems and
mobilize additional resources for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and
response (PPR).

The World
Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved the establishment of a
financial intermediary fund (FIF) that will finance critical investments to
strengthen pandemic PPR capacities at national, regional, and global levels,
with a focus on low- and middle-income countries. The fund will bring
additional, dedicated resources for PPR, incentivize countries to increase
investments, enhance coordination among partners, and serve as a platform for
advocacy. The FIF will complement the financing and technical support provided
by the World Bank, leverage the strong technical expertise of WHO, and engage
other key organizations.

Developed with
leadership from the United States, and from Italy and Indonesia as part of
their G20 Presidencies, and with broad support from the G20 and beyond, over US$1
billion in financial commitments have already been announced for the FIF,
including contributions from the United States, the European Union, Indonesia,
Germany, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the Gates Foundation and the Wellcome
Trust.

 “I’m pleased by the broad support from our
shareholders for a new Financial Intermediary Fund at the World Bank,”
World
Bank Group President David Malpass
said. “The World Bank is the largest
provider of financing for PPR with active operations in over 100 developing
countries to strengthen their health systems. The FIF will provide additional,
long-term funding to complement the work of existing institutions in supporting
low- and middle-income countries and regions to prepare for the next pandemic.”

“Access to
financing for pandemic prevention and preparedness is crucial. COVID-19 has
exposed major gaps in preparedness capacities, which the Financial Intermediary
Fund can address in a coherent manner, as part of the global architecture for
health emergency preparedness and response,” said WHO Director General Dr
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“WHO will play a central role in the FIF,
providing technical leadership for its work in close collaboration with the
World Bank to realize this ambitious vision.”

The goal of
the FIF is to provide financing to address critical gaps in pandemic PPR to
strengthen country capacity in areas such as disease surveillance, laboratory
systems, health workforce, emergency communication and management, and
community engagement. It can also help address gaps in strengthening regional
and global capacity, for example, by supporting data sharing, regulatory
harmonization, and capacity for coordinated development, procurement,
distribution and deployment of countermeasures and essential medical supplies.

In the coming
weeks, the Bank and WHO will work closely with donors and other partners to
develop the detailed scope and design of the FIF. The ongoing discussions will
be informed by the extensive inputs provided through stakeholder engagement. The goal is to
launch the FIF in fall 2022.

Drawing on its
financial and legal platform, program management and operational expertise, and
experience in managing FIFs, the World Bank will serve as the FIF’s Trustee and
host the Secretariat, which will be staffed by the Bank and WHO. Drawing on its
technical expertise, the WHO will also lead on supporting and coordinating the
work of the FIF’s technical advisory panel. Implementing entities for
FIF-financed projects in addition to the World Bank Group are expected to
include WHO, other multilateral development banks and United Nations agencies,
as well as other organizations. The FIF will build on the existing global
health architecture for PPR, within the context of the International Health
Regulations (IHR 2005) and associated monitoring mechanisms, with a central
technical role for WHO.

Key principles
of the FIF will be to complement the work of existing institutions that provide
international financing for PPR, drawing on their comparative advantages and catalyzing
funding from private, philanthropic, and bilateral sources. Further, the FIF is
expected to incentivize countries to invest more in PPR, serve as an integrator
of PPR efforts, and have the flexibility to work through a variety of existing
institutions and adjust over time as needs and the institutional landscape
evolve. The FIF’s structure will combine inclusivity and agility and operate
with high standards of transparency and accountability.

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