The World Bank Group’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) welcomes Australia as a donor to the PEF, joining Japan and Germany.
Australia is contributing US$7.2 million to the PEF’s Cash Window, which was set up through an initial contribution from Germany. Australia will also now be a voting member of the PEF Steering Body.
“With this contribution to the PEF, Australia is supporting the scaling up of national and international responses to infectious disease outbreaks,” said the Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia. “We are committed to working with international partners to reduce the risk of global pandemics and improve health security for all.”
This commitment comes as the PEF made its first-ever financial commitment on May 22nd – an $11.4 million grant from the PEF Cash Window to bridge the resource gap in the strategic response plan of ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The grant was approved at an emergency meeting of the PEF Steering Body called one day after an approved, three-month $56 million Ebola response plan was released by the DRC Government, and the money is already available to support frontline response.
“The PEF ensures that we break the cycle of panic and neglect which has so far characterized the global approach to pandemics,” said Annette Dixon, Vice President, Human Development at the World Bank Group. “It is a key example of the World Bank Group’s commitment to creating innovative financing mechanisms to tackle complex global challenges, working with country governments, donors, international partners and the private sector.”
“The robust and swift contribution of the PEF just in the past week has underlined its role as a new model for financing pandemic response with speed and flexibility,” said Mukesh Chawla, Coordinator of the PEF and Advisor, World Bank Group. “It ensures that money is never the reason holding back effective response.”
The PEF, set up by the World Bank Group in partnership with Japan, Germany, the World Health Organization (WHO), and private sector partners, has been operational since July 2017 and consists of both a cash and an insurance component. The PEF’s $425 million Insurance Window with premiums funded by Japan and Germany, consists of bonds placed on the capital markets. This would be triggered if a much larger, multi-country response is needed. All activation criteria are based upon publicly available data provided by the WHO. The PEF covers 78 of the world’s poorest countries against pandemic threats and is the first mechanism to be expressly designed for this purpose.