Indonesia president launches G20 pandemic fund, seeks more money

Indonesia president launches G20 pandemic fund, seeks more money
Indonesian President Joko Widodo attends the Asean summit held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Nov 11.
PHOTO: Reuters

NUSA DUA, Indonesia – Indonesia President Joko Widodo said on Sunday (Nov 13) at the launch of a Group of 20 (G20) pandemic fund that the amount of money raised so far to improve preparedness for future pandemics was not yet sufficient.

The fund launched by G20 chair Indonesia is targeted at low-to middle-income countries to finance efforts like surveillance, research, and better access to vaccines, among others measures.

"I expect bigger support," the president said in a video address to an event in Bali where the G20 holds a summit this week.

The fund has raised about US$1.4 billion (S$1.9 billion) so far, including contributions from Indonesia, US and the European Union, as well as from donors and philanthropic organisations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

It was created amid anger among many developing countries over their experience during the Covid-19 pandemic, when richer countries often hoarded the bulk of resources such as vaccines to fight the virus.

The World Bank, which will serve as the fund's trustee, and the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is advising on the facility, estimated in a report that the annual funding gap for pandemic preparedness is US$10.5 billion.

Indonesia's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the fund is expected to increase in size with contributions from France and Saudi Arabia. She did not specify by how much.

She called for proposals from countries looking to access the fund.

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