World Bank Approves New Pandemic Preparedness Fund for Poorer Countries

By Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.
July 4, 2022 Updated: July 4, 2022

The World Bank approved the establishment of a new fund on June 30 to help low- and middle-income countries in pandemic preparedness, with more than $1 billion already pledged for the fund.

The Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) aims to address “critical gaps” in pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR) to strengthen regional and global capacity.

According to the World Bank, the fund will bring additional resources for PPR, incentivize countries to increase investments, enhance coordination among partners, and serve as a platform for advocacy.

“The World Bank is the largest provider of financing for PPR with active operations in over 100 developing countries to strengthen their health systems,” World Bank Group President David Malpass said in a statement.

Financial commitments to the FIF include contributions from the United States, the European Union, Indonesia, Germany, the UK, and Singapore.

The fund, expected to be launched this fall, was developed under the leadership of the United States, Italy, and Indonesia as part of their G-20 presidencies.

Washington has already pledged $450 million to support the FIF. Citing data from experts, U.S. President Joe Biden said that more than $10 billion is needed each year to fill international financing gaps for health security and pandemic preparedness.

Biden said he has requested an additional $4.75 billion in mandatory and discretionary funds from Congress to “greatly enhance the fund’s effectiveness and catalyze commitments from others.”

“Let me be clear, protecting the United States from infectious disease threats cannot be accomplished with incremental increases in annual global health spending alone,” he said in a statement. “Additional financing is needed to make new progress against infectious diseases we will face, on top of continued demands for the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, and sustained support for longstanding global health investments and health systems.”

The World Bank will serve as the FIF’s trustee and host the secretariat, while the World Health Organization (WHO) will lead as its technical partner. They’ll work closely with donors to develop the detailed scope and design of the FIF in the coming weeks.

“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,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.