Avoiding future pandemics will require an additional investment of $15 billion a year, double what is currently spent, according to the G20’s High Level Independent Panel on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.
“We need a globally distributed development, manufacturing, and delivery ecosystem that is kept in use in normal times and can pivot swiftly to provide the medical countermeasures specific to each pandemic,” wrote the panel’s co-chairs, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director general of the World Trade Organization, Tharman Shanmugratnam, chair of the Group of Thirty and former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.
The co-chairs conclude that many developing economies will have to spend 1% of GDP annually over the next five years to upgrade their health care capacities for attending both emerging and endemic infectious diseases and mitigate comorbidities.
The panel’s co-chairs suggest three strategic shifts to achieve these goals; first, strengthening the multilateral base of the finances and capacity of the World Health Organization; second, pivoting the role of development banks such as the World Bank and IMF towards mitigating risk instead of direct lending so as to mobilize private capital; and third, the establishment of a new multilateral financing mechanism for global health security.
“The Joint Finance-Health Task Force initiated by G20 Leaders on October 31, 2021, should be the first step toward establishing the new multilateral financing mechanism and the board required for effective coordination and stewardship of funding for global health security,” note the panel’s chairs, adding that they hope to achieve consensus by early 2022.
By Feike de Jong