Ministers and colleagues. I’m very pleased to join you today for this important discussion. Pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response, or PPR, is a critical part of successful development and is a core part of the World Bank Group’s activities. Our work on PPR is of course part of a broader global health landscape – COVID-19 highlighted the urgent need for coordinated action to build stronger health systems and mobilize additional resources for PPR.
I’d like to describe our work on PPR, update you on the PPR financial intermediary fund, or FIF, and mention a few country-specific examples of challenges for PPR.
Since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa from 2014-2016, pandemic preparedness has been an explicit policy commitment in each of the last three IDA replenishments. This sustained commitment to PPR has complemented a significant Bank-wide scale-up in support of health systems. Combining IBRD and IDA, the World Bank is the largest provider of financing for PPR-specific and supportive operations, with an active portfolio of US$30 billion in over 100 countries to support health system strengthening. This includes our ongoing COVID-19 emergency health projects and vaccine operations. IFC has also been actively helping to expand emerging market vaccine production, especially in Africa, and the availability of equipment and supplies.
Our financial model has the flexibility to provide surge financing during crises, as well as longer term, sustainable financing for health preparedness and resilience. In this context, I’m pleased by the broad support for a new FIF at the World Bank. It can provide a dedicated stream of additional, long-term funding to strengthen critical PPR functions in low- and middle-income countries.
With your support, we are working rapidly to develop the new PPR FIF. Over the past month, the Bank has engaged widely with stakeholders on the FIF’s scope and design and have received valuable inputs. We are encouraged that over $1 billion in financial commitments have already been announced for the PPR FIF including contributions from the United States, the European Union, Indonesia, Germany, the Wellcome Trust, and Gates Foundation. I know several of you here today are also considering contributions. We look forward to many more countries joining. I want to recognize Priya Basu, who is with you in Yogyakarta and will speak shortly. She has been heading the secretariat of the Multilateral Leaders Taskforce on COVID-19 and is leading the Bank’s engagement on the FIF.
Six key principles will underpin the FIF’s design: First, it will complement the work of existing institutions that provide international financing for PPR, drawing on their comparative advantages. Second, it will be designed to catalyze funding from private, philanthropic, and bilateral sources. Third, it will serve as an integrator. We don’t want it to become a new silo that further fragments health efforts. Fourth, it will have the flexibility to work through a variety of existing institutions and adjust over time as needs and the institutional landscape evolves. Fifth, its structure will combine inclusivity and agility. And sixth, it will operate with high standards of transparency and accountability.
At the end of June, we will be taking this proposal to the World Bank’s Board for approval. After that, we expect to work closely with donors, the WHO, and other stakeholders to develop the detailed scope and design of the FIF. The goal is to launch the FIF in the third quarter of 2022.
The FIF can immediately start by providing financing to strengthen and sustain country-level PPR capacity. Priority areas identified include disease surveillance; laboratory systems; emergency communication, coordination and management; critical health workforce capacities; and community engagement.
Many of the needs are contextual and country-specific. We’ve compiled a few examples:
- Kenya has identified strengthening surveillance capacity, laboratory systems, and infection control as financing priorities.
- Peru has identified its legal and policy framework underpinning PPR and strengthening community engagement.
- Bangladesh seeks to strengthen its legal and policy framework and the capacity of its public health workforce.
- Cambodia has significant zoonotic infections and wants to prioritize funding to integrate human, animal and environmental health.
- And Haiti seeks comprehensive support to strengthen its overall public health response capacity.
We look forward to continuing to work with you on this critical agenda.