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Statement April 17, 2020

World Bank Group to Launch New Multi-donor Trust Fund to Help Countries Prepare for Disease Outbreaks

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2020 ---- Given the urgency for stronger global health security and the need to help developing countries get better prepared for disease outbreaks, the World Bank Group is planning to establish a new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Multi-Donor Fund (HEPRF). This new fund will complement, and be in addition to, the up to $160 billion of financing the World Bank Group will provide over the next 15 months to support COVID-19 measures that will help countries respond to immediate health consequences of the pandemic and bolster economic recovery.

The HEPRF will provide incentives to low-income countries to increase investments in health preparedness and support the immediate COVID-19 response. In doing so, the HEPRF will help to guide critical health security investments now and in years to come. Specifically, the fund will:

·         Provide incentives to IDA-eligible countries to increase investments in preparedness, for example, by offering co-financing grants that encourage the use of their IDA allocations for better health emergency prevention, detection and response.

·         Enable low-income countries to quickly and effectively respond to major disease outbreaks at an early stage, complementary to IDA’s Crisis Response Window. It will also support other countries and territories that do not have access to financing such as IDA countries in arrears and non-creditworthy IBRD countries.

Japan has expressed its intention to become the founding donor of the new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Multi-Donor Fund, which is now open for contributions from all donor countries. The World Bank and Japan are encouraging other donor countries to make contributions to this fund to help low income countries with the greatest needs prepare for and respond to major disease outbreaks.

“The new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Multi-Donor Fund will be another tool in the World Bank’s COVID-19 response and longer-term health preparedness agenda to support low-income countries, as well as the most vulnerable communities, including refugees,” said Annette Dixon, Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank. “We are thankful to the Government of Japan for their leadership in health security and encourage other donors to join us.”

As part of the World Bank’s trust fund reform, the new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Multi-Donor Fund will anchor the Umbrella Program for Health Security.  The objective of this umbrella is to help countries develop strong public health capacity, including preparedness, disease surveillance, laboratory and diagnostic capacity, health human resources, as well as emergency response operations.