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Monday, February 6th, 2023

Financial intermediary fund for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response launches with WHO, World Bank support

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Looking to get ahead of future health concerns, a new financial intermediary fund (FIF) was officially launched last week by the FIF Governing Board, which was recently created with support from G20 members and other nations, along with a positive vote from the World Bank Board of Directors.

Launching with more than $1.4 billion in financial commitments from 19 nations and three international organizations, the new fund will bolster pandemic prevention, preparedness and response worldwide. Its efforts will focus on long-term financing for low and middle-income nations, as well as tackling investment gaps and technical support for national, regional, and global intentions. Incentivization, advocacy, and improved coordination, among other support for health systems, will all be on the new fund’s radar.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the pressing need for action to build stronger health systems,” David Malpass, World Bank group president, said. “Investing now will save lives and resources for the years to come. We welcome the broad support from the international community for this new, multilateral financial intermediary fund at the World Bank to help low- and middle-income countries and regions become better prepared for global health crises and are pleased to have been able to proceed quickly in establishing the fund.”

The World Bank is hosting the new fund and will serve as its trustee, but it will also benefit from technical leadership from the World Health Organization (WHO). Under the FIF Governing Board will be a Technical Advisory Panel, which WHO will chair, along with leading experts, to undertake assessments and make recommendations on the merits of proposals for funding parts of the broader global prevention, preparedness, and response mandate.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a seismic shock to the world, but we also know that the next pandemic is a matter of when, not if,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said. “The suffering and loss we have all endured will be in vain unless we learn the painful lessons from COVID-19 and put in place the measures to fill critical gaps in the world’s defences against epidemics and pandemics. The FIF is one of those key measures, and WHO looks forward to fulfilling its technical leadership role in advising the FIF Board on where to make the most effective investments to protect health, especially in low- and middle-income countries.”

Calls for investment proposals to be funded by the FIF will open in November 2022.