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High Level Independent Panel urges the G20 to launch a 'global deal' to prevent catastrophic costs of future pandemics

Press release, July 9, 2021

On Friday 9 July 2021, the G20 High Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response presented its official report to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

COVID-19 will likely be a forerunner of future catastrophic pandemics, unless significant new investments and reforms are urgently made to bolster global and national capacities for pandemic preparedness and rapid response.

These are some of the main messages of the report, A Global Deal for Our Pandemic Age, presented by the G20 High Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (HLIP) at the third G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Venice on 9 July. The Panel calls on the G20 and international community to move swiftly to close current shortfalls in the international COVID-19 response. The world cannot wait, continues the report, for COVID-19 to be over to make the global investments and reforms that are critically needed to head off future pandemics, which threaten to be more frequent and increasingly dangerous.

The Panel calls for a public funding increase in international financing of at least US$75 billion over the next five years, or US$15 billion per year, to plug major gaps in pandemic prevention and preparedness at least doubling current spending levels. The four pressing preparedness gaps identified by the Panel are: infectious disease surveillance, resilience of national health systems, global capacity to supply and deliver vaccines and other medical countermeasures, and global governance. Future pandemic risks can be substantially reduced if these gaps are addressed.

The Panel highlights that the needed investments are larger than what the international community has been willing to spend in the past, but negligible compared to costs of another major pandemic. The costs to government budgets alone from pandemics are up to 700 times larger than the annual additional international investments proposed by the Panel.

The additional US$15 billion per year of international financing in global public goods for prevention and preparedness includes a key proposal to establish a new US$10 billion annual Global Health Threats Fund plus US$5 billion a year to increase funding of existing international institutions, including to strengthen the World Health Organization (WHO) and create dedicated pandemic preparedness concessional financing windows in the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs).

The Panel also calls for the creation of a new Global Health Threats Board, which would bring together Finance and Health Ministers and International Organizations to provide systemic financial oversight and ensure timely and effective resourcing and coordination of international efforts to mitigate pandemic threats.

The Panel also stressed the imperative for all nations to prioritize and sustain domestic investments in pandemic preparedness over time. Low- and middle-income countries would need to add about 1% of Gross Domestic Product to public spending on health over the next five years, complemented by increased support from multilateral and bilateral financing partners.

The G20 will be considering the Panel's report and recommendations in detail in the lead up to the Joint Finance and Health Ministers meeting in October.

Download the full report "A Global Deal for Our Pandemic Age" here.

For more information on the Panel and a list of members, go to https://pandemic-financing.org

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Source: Official website of the Italian G20 Presidency

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