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BRIEFJune 30, 2022

FAQs: The Pandemic Fund

The Pandemic Fund is a multi-stakeholder global partnership, with its Secretariat hosted by the World Bank. It is governed by a Board comprising representatives from sovereign contributors, non-sovereign contributors, sovereign co-investors and civil society organizations.

The Pandemic Fund  provides a dedicated stream of additional, long-term financing to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPR) capacity and capabilities in low- and middle-income countries and to address critical gaps through investments and technical support at the national, regional, and global levels. It draws on the strengths and comparative advantages of key institutions engaged in pandemic PPR, provide complementary support, improve coordination among partners, incentivize countries to do more for PPR, serve as a platform for advocacy, and help focus and sustain much-needed, high-level attention on strengthening health systems.

When did the Pandemic Fund approve its first round of funding?

In February 2023, the Board of the Pandemic Fund  approved an envelope of around $300 million  for its first round of funding to help developing countries better prepare for and respond to future pandemics. As part of the application process, the Fund invited interested eligible countries and implementing entities to submit Expressions of Interest (EOI) for potential projects to be supported by this initial funding. On March 3, the Fund issued the official Call for Proposals. The deadline for submitting proposals is May 19, 2023.

What types of activities will the Pandemic Fund be able to finance?

The Pandemic Fund financing could help strengthen and sustain PPR capacity in areas such as disease surveillance; laboratories; emergency communication, coordination and management; critical health workforce capacities; and community engagement. Pandemic Fund-financed projects can also help strengthen pandemic PPR at the regional and global levels, for example, by building capacity for medical countermeasures. The Pandemic Fund can support peer-to-peer learning, provide targeted technical assistance, and help with the systematic monitoring of PPR capacities.

Projects to be financed by the first round of funding will prioritize strengthening comprehensive disease surveillance and early warning, laboratory systems, and human resources/public health workforce capacity, in line with the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) and other internationally endorsed legal frameworks and consistent with a One Health approach.

Why is there a need for a Pandemic Fund and how does it fit in the larger global health architecture?

While there are many institutions and financing mechanisms that support pandemic PPR activities, none of them is focused solely on this area. This means that spending on other immediate needs can take priority over critical pandemic PPR investments some of whose return may only materialize in the future.

The Pandemic Fund will help focus and sustain much-needed high-level attention on strengthening pandemic PPR through horizontally integrated approaches. It will provide a dedicated stream of additional, long-term financing to strengthen pandemic PPR capabilities in low- and middle-income countries and address critical gaps through investments and technical support at the national, regional, and global levels. The fund will draw on the strengths and comparative advantages of key institutions engaged in PPR, provide complementary support, improve coordination among partners, incentivize increased country investments and policy commitments, and serve as a platform for advocacy.

What is the structure of the Pandemic Fund?

The governing and administrative bodies of the Pandemic Fund include: the Governing Board, which is the decision-making body of the Pandemic Fund that sets the strategy and work program and makes funding decisions; the Secretariat, hosted by the World Bank;  the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP), chaired by the WHO; and  the financial Trustee, which is a function performed by the World Bank. The Pandemic Fund channels resources to beneficiaries for projects through implementing entities, which support implementation of projects and activities.

The Pandemic Fund’s Governing Board includes equal representation of sovereign donors and potential beneficiary country governments (co-investors), as well as representatives from foundations that have contributed to the Pandemic Fund and civil society organizations (CSOs).

What is the role of the World Bank in the Pandemic Fund?

The World Bank plays three roles in the Pandemic Fund, drawing on its financial and program management, operational and legal expertise and experience in establishing and managing financial intermediary funds (FIFs): (i)  trustee, where the World Bank  holds and transfers donor funds to external entities based on instruction of the Pandemic Fund Governing Board; (ii) secretariat, where the World Bank provides program management and administration services to the Pandemic Fund and supports its Governing Board; and (iii) implementing entity where WBG institutions would appraise and provide implementation support for Pandemic Fund-financed projects. The World Bank is represented as an Observer on the Pandemic Fund’s Governing Board.

What is a FIF?

Financial Intermediary Funds (FIFs) provide the global development community with independently governed multi-contributor collaboration platforms. Typically focused on specific themes, FIFs are designed to mobilize significant financial support and engender collective action for development priorities, often contributing to global public goods. At the heart of each FIF is a type of trust fund for which the World Bank serves as trustee. For more information, please visit here.

What is the role of WHO in the Pandemic Fund?

The WHO supports the Pandemic Fund as follows: (i) chair of the technical advisory panel to assess and make recommendations to the Governing Board on the technical merits of proposals for funding, ensuring linkages to the International Health Regulations, as part of the broader global PPR architecture; ii) participation in the secretariat, through seconding staff to support the work of the secretariat; and (iii) implementing entity. In these capacities, the WHO would be represented as an Observer on the Pandemic Fund’s Governing Board.

What is the role of CSOs in the governance structure of the Pandemic Fund?

The Pandemic Fund’s governance structure is inclusive and agile and ensures the voices of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are captured. The Pandemic Fund`s Governing Board includes two voting seats for CSOs.

What is the role of potential beneficiary countries in the governance structure of the Pandemic Fund?

The Pandemic Fund’s Governing Board includes equal representation of sovereign donors and potential beneficiary country governments (co-investors), as well as representatives from foundations and civil society organizations (CSOs). This reflects the Pandemic Fund’s commitment to inclusive and effective governance and operating arrangements with high standards of transparency and accountability.

Who will be the beneficiaries/recipients of the Pandemic Fund’s financing? 

The Pandemic Fund aims to provide financing to low-and middle-income countries and regions to strengthen their capacity in pandemic PPR. Eligible beneficiaries are countries that are eligible to receive financing from IDA and/or IBRD; and regional entities or platforms that are specialized technical institutions established by the governments of one or more eligible countries to support their public health initiatives and strengthen pandemic PPR capacity. Regional development communities or economic organizations may also be considered. Regional arms of a global organization, generally consisting of member states grouped within a geographical region of that global organization, would typically not be eligible.

What is the role of Implementing Entities?

Accredited implementing entities would receive Pandemic Fund financing and channel this financing to eligible beneficiaries for projects that would be prepared with the support of implementing entities and executed by beneficiaries using the policies and procedures of the concerned implementing entities. The implementing entities would be responsible for project supervision and reporting on results to the Pandemic Fund’s Board.

The 13 currently approved implementing entities include: African Development Bank; Asian Development Bank; Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; European Investment Bank; Inter-American Development Bank; International Finance Corporation; World Bank; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; UNICEF; World Health Organization; the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The Pandemic Fund’s Board is developing an Accreditation Framework that will be used to accredit additional Implementing Entities, as needed.

What will be the distribution in financing for country, regional and global activities? 

The Pandemic Fund’s Governing Board will determine the balance between financing for country, regional and global activities. However, we anticipate that much of the needs for filling the gap of PPR funding will be at the country and regional level.

Will all the Pandemic Fund financing be provided as grants?

At this early stage of the Pandemic Fund’s establishment, it is anticipated that the Pandemic Fund will only receive grant contributions and only provide grant financing. 

What is the financial volume of the Pandemic Fund?

The financial volume of the Pandemic Fund will depend upon contributions from donors. As of February 2023, financial pledges to the Pandemic Fund total more than US$ 1.6 billion from 25 donors. The Pandemic Fund will continue to raise funds for its work. Future replenishments are expected.

Who are the donors of the Pandemic Fund?

The Pandemic Fund was developed with broad support from members of the G20 and beyond. Over US$1.6 billion in financial commitments have already been announced and more are expected in the coming months. So far, commitments have been made by Australia, Canada, China, the European Commission, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Wellcome Trust.

Will there be a limit/cap to individual financing requests?

The size of funding requests will be determined by the Pandemic Fund Governing Board at the time of each call for proposals. There is no stipulated limit, at present, on funding for individual countries or individual proposals.  

Is there a minimum threshold for donor contributions?

There is no minimum threshold for donor contributions at this stage.

What is the difference between the new Pandemic Fund and the Health Emergency Preparedness Multi-donor Trust Fund/Program; how are they complementary?

The Health Emergency Preparedness Multi-Donor Trust Fund (HEPR) is a regular trust fund housed in the Bank, which solely contributes funds to finance or co-finance World Bank operations, or supports Bank-executed activities, including analytic work. The new Pandemic Fund is an entity housed at the World Bank but will fund multiple implementing agencies, one of which will be the World Bank. Unlike the HEPRF, the Pandemic Fund will not fund WB projects without the approval of the Pandemic Fund’s Governing Board. The HEPRF will complement the Pandemic Fund by supporting innovations that can be mainstreamed or expanded with support from the Pandemic Fund.

Will the Pandemic Fund also finance activities related to One Health (intersection between human health, animal health and environment)? 

Yes, activities related to One Health, which recognize that human and animal health are interdependent and bound to the health of the ecosystems they share, are eligible for financing from the Pandemic Fund. A multi-sectoral One Health approach is central to the prevention of public health risks.

Will the Pandemic Fund also fund activities related to Antimicrobial Resistance?

Yes, activities related to Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) are eligible for financing from the Pandemic Fund. Investments in pandemic prevention and preparedness decrease the risk of infections and therefore the risk of AMR.

What will be the private sector’s role in the Pandemic Fund?

The private sector plays an important role in strengthening countries’ pandemic PPR capacity. The Pandemic Fund accepts contributions from the private sector. Furthermore, it can support the private sector’s efforts in PPR through the private sector arms of MDBs.

Will the Pandemic Fund cover payments to companies to reserve manufacturing capacity for vaccines/ treatments/ tests?

The Pandemic Fund could potentially support “the development, procurement and deployment of countermeasures and essential medical supplies.” Final decisions on funding allocations will be made by the Pandemic Fund’s Governing Board, informed by the technical advisory panel.

Last Updated: Mar 03, 2023