Session on Mobilizing Finance for Global Public Goods
Good day to colleagues around the world. I am very happy to discuss this vital subject. The World Bank Group works extensively with health systems in the developing world to strengthen preparedness and provide a variety of surge financing.
We actively participated in the G20 finance and health working group. We have prepared the joint document on Financing needs with the WHO and I look forward to your views. The document identifies significant funding gaps to strengthen preparedness.
The world needs to be much better prepared to respond to pandemics, disasters and health emergencies. Investing in prevention and preparedness now will save lives and, in the medium term, save resources.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet behind us, let me first say a few words about our efforts to support countries through this pandemic. I will then address the subject of preparing for and financing future health crises.
The World Bank Group’s $157 billion response to COVID-19 was unprecedented. It was the fastest and largest growth in our history. This has helped countries assess their health capacity gaps, fund their health systems, obtain vaccines, and turn those vaccines into real vaccinations in the poorest countries.
Since last week, our funding has helped 67 countries purchase more than half a billion doses. Closely related doses. Doses are closely linked to our funding of country deployment programs and follow-up – through workforce training, public awareness campaigns, logistics, chain capacity cold, syringes and test kits.
Preparing and building for the future is at the heart of the World Bank’s mission through comprehensive health projects. We work to strengthen health systems in more than 100 countries with an active portfolio totaling $30 billion.
IFC has actively helped expand vaccine production in emerging markets, particularly in Africa, and made much-needed equipment and supplies available through its $4 billion global health platform.
We have worked closely with in-country partners throughout the pandemic, as well as international and regional partners, such as UNICEF, WHO, Gavi, COVAX, African Union and AVAT, and PAHO.
In Africa, we have worked with countries and regional groups and agencies to strengthen disease surveillance, early warning systems, laboratory testing capacities and human resources. A good example is the regional project to improve disease surveillance systems, which supports 16 countries in West and Central Africa, with funding from IDA and IBRD. We also support the Africa CDC, which was created in the aftermath of the Ebola crisis.
To improve coordination, we have formed the Multilateral Leaders Working Group, together with the IMF, WHO and WTO. The MLTF takes a data and evidence-based approach to help identify and address critical bottlenecks.
Now I want to move on to capital structures. It is essential that preparedness-focused structures have the flexibility to provide surge capacity during crises and the sustained support needed for longer-term health preparedness.
The huge increase in World Bank financing was made possible by several key aspects of the World Bank’s financial structure, including the recent capital increases of IBRD and IFC, the IBRD crisis buffer – which was explicitly designed to respond to crises – and IDA’s ability to preload its support and accelerate its access to global capital markets. With strong member support, we moved quickly to advance IDA19 resources and accelerate the IDA20 replenishment. Already in 2022, IDA issued a 20-year euro-denominated sustainability bond that raised €2 billion and was heavily oversubscribed. IBRD is also actively working with borrowers to help lock in fixed rates.
Pandemic preparedness requires long-term, sustained and predictable funding. Thanks to your generous contributions, the IDA20 replenishment program includes ambitious commitments to help countries strengthen their pandemic preparedness and response. We are also in active discussions with several IBRD countries on how best to support their national plans to strengthen these aspects.
We must continue to innovate in the funding vehicles available for pandemic preparedness.
The World Bank offers Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown options – Cat-DDO – for pandemic-related events – just as we do for natural disasters. These conditional lines of credit provide immediate liquidity to countries in the event of a pandemic outbreak or high-impact disaster. It relies on governments adopting policies and institutional measures to improve their pandemic preparedness from the outset. A recent example of this is a $300 million line of credit for Colombia that was approved in December 2021.
We are rapidly working on a new Financial Intermediary Fund – or FIF – to increase funding for pandemic preparedness and response. A key element in the effectiveness of the IFF will be financial contributions from G20 countries and other donors. The new FIF will bring additional resources, complement ongoing efforts and strengthen coordination on this essential program. I would especially like to commend Secretary Yellen and the United States for their support and leadership in this initiative.
Key principles should underpin this facility. First, the flexibility of working with strong implementing institutions, leveraging their comparative advantages. Second, the mobilization of long-term resources, on a sustained and predictable basis. Third, avoid duplication and ensure complementarity with existing funding efforts and institutions. Fourth, a focus on strengthening coordination among partners. And fifth, simplicity of governance and design, with agile and streamlined operational processes.
As we work together to end this pandemic, we must learn the lessons we have learned to help prepare the world for the next global health emergency. Developing countries deserve more and better financial support from the international community that is aligned with their needs. Strong political leadership, national commitment and investments are equally essential. And, through all of these important issues, COVID-19 has underscored the importance of coordinated action in the fight against global threats like pandemics and other similar crises.
Thank you very much to all.