Second Global COVID-19 Summit: Gains and gaps

Global leaders pledged an additional US$3.2 billion in new and additional funding during the second Global COVID-19 Summit, which took place virtually on May 12, 2022. The meeting included commitments related to COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) in addition to licensing, reducing the price of oral antiretrovirals, and the creation of a fund to prevent future pandemics to be housed within the World Bank.


US$2 billion of the new and additional funding raised at the Summit was earmarked for immediate response to COVID-19. An additional US$712 million in seed funding for the new pandemic preparedness and global health security fund at the World Bank was also confirmed, which has set its ambitions on being a US$10 billion fund. Donors to the new fund included the US, Germany, the EU, and UK-based health charity Wellcome.

The virtual meeting was co-hosted by the United States, Germany, Belize, Indonesia, and Senegal. The commitments included pledges from over 40 governments and over 50 organizations including NGOs, the private sector, and philanthropies.

Major OECD donor updates: 

Australia: In addition to pledging an additional A$85 million (US$63 million) in 2022 for COVAX, Australia came to the Summit having delivered on the first half of its commitment made at the first Global COVID-19 Summit - to donate 60 million vaccine doses by the end of 2022. Australia also announced a A$375 million (US$277 million) commitment for the second phase of the Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region in addition to A$100 million (US$74 million) for CEPI. 

Canada: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced CA$732 million (US$566 million) for the ACT-A in the 2022 - 2023 budget cycle to help overcome global vaccine inequality in low- and middle- income countries. The funding from Canada includes an allocation of CA$220 million (US$170 million) that was previously announced on April 8, 2022, at the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) Summit. The announcement, coupled with prior funding, will ensure that Canada meets its fair share for the 2021-2022 ACT-A budget cycle.

European Union Institutions: The European Union committed US$882 million in new funding for the global COVID-19 response and pandemic preparedness. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced €300 million (US$324 million) for vaccine support via COVAX, €100 million (US$108 million) for ACT-A initiatives, and US$450 million for the pandemic preparedness and global health security financial intermediary fund at the World Bank. The funding for these commitments comes out of the €1.3 billion (US$1.4 billion) the Commission had previously set aside to purchase 200 million vaccines for donation. The Commission is repurposing the funding, which comes from the Neighborhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) - Global Europe, because of supposed lack of demand for vaccine donations in lower- and middle-income countries. 

In response to the announcement, advocacy CSO ONE Campaign called on the Commission to complement this funding for pandemic preparedness and response with €715 million (US$772 million) in additional funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria to address the setbacks in its priority diseases due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

France: French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian pledged a new financial commitment to COVAX, amounting to €100 million (US$104 million) and confirmed France's former pledges of €50 million (US$54 million) to the World Health Organization (WHO) and €70 million (US$76 million) to strengthen vaccine production capacity in low-income countries, including Rwanda, Senegal, and South Africa.

Germany: Germany contributed €50 million (US$54 million) for the establishment of the new global health security and pandemic preparedness fund housed by the World Bank. This commitment is in addition to Germany’s recent commitment of €1.1 billion (US$1.2 billion) to ACT-A’s 2021 - 2021 replenishment cycle and €224 million (US$242 million) in bilateral contributions targeting vaccine uptake in partner countries.

Italy: Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced that Italy would donate an additional 31 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through COVAX and pledged €200milion (US$216 million) via the ACT-A and other global pandemic preparedness initiatives. Draghi also highlighted the Joint Finance-Health Task Force, launched by Italy during its G20 presidency to explore a new facility to fund pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response and stressed the importance of broad consensus on an inclusive financing facility, centered around the WHO to ensure effective borad-based financing. 

Japan: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged US$500 million to COVAX in addition to the US$4.5 billion Japan has already contributed to fighting COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries. Kishida reiterated Japan’s commitment to long-term support of COVID-19 countermeasures and announced a contribution of US$300 million to CEPI over the next five years. Japan has also allocated US$200 million through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to support the local production of pharmaceuticals and medical products in Africa. Japan has focused on improving countries’ capacities to transport and administer vaccines through its “Last One Mile Support” program. It has donated more than 44 million vaccines to 77 countries with about US$160 million in funding thus far.

Netherlands: While the Netherlands did not make commitments at the Summit, in-country politicians used the opportunity to criticize the country's overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Norway: With no new commitments, Norway highlighted its provision of US$222 million to the 2021 - 2022 ACT-A budget cycle; it supported the World Bank fund for health security and pandemic preparedness, but did not provide a financial commitment.

South Korea: President Yoon Suk-yeol announced that South Korea will make US$300 million in additional contributions to ACT-A available for the 2023-2025 budget cycle, a move that has been met with criticism. At his first multilateral summit since his inauguration, the new president emphasized South Korea's focus on global health and reiterated the country's commitment to the WHO Global Biomanufacturing Training Hub and the Global Health Security Agenda. 

Spain: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a new pledge of €300 million (US$324 million) to provide COVID-19 vaccines and to foster pandemic preparedness in low- and middle-income countries. Spain will provide up to €200 million (US$216 million) to disburse 30 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to partner countries in 2022, both bilaterally and via COVAX, the vaccine pillar of ACT-A. To date, Spain has donated 70 million COVID-19 vaccine doses - the seventh-largest donor worldwide. The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) additionally announced that it will disburse €100 million (US$108 million) in development programs aimed at fostering health system strengthening in vulnerable countries.

Sweden: Sweden committed 10 million vaccine doses to COVAX as well as its health experts to help improve international global health architecture and pandemic preparedness policies. 

United Kingdom: The UK government failed to make any new commitments at the long-awaited second Global COVID-19 Summit. The UK was also absent in funding the new World Bank fund, which will pool public and private resources and coordinate and channel the funding toward countries investing in preparedness according to standards agreed upon by the WHO. The White House press release cited that the UK, while not providing new commitments, had already provided £265 million (US$327 million) to the global response to COVID-19 since December 2021, including £105 million (US$136 million) for testing and boosting oxygen supplies, and £160 million (US$207 million) to support CEPI to reduce the time to develop vaccines against new health threats.

United States: Although the US was one of the main event organizers, the Summit came at a time when the US Congress failed to pass additional funding for the global COVID-19 response. The Biden Administration included a US$5 billion request in the current supplemental bill to assist Ukraine, but the COVID-19 funding was stripped out amidst concerns that it would slow the approval of the bill. The US did commit US$200 million to the new pandemic preparedness fund at the World Bank in addition to the US$250 million it had previously provided. 

The Summit was heralded as a success, signaling the revival of lagging global COVID-19 response efforts, but commitments fell far short of the conference’s goal of getting an additional US$10 billion to support vaccination access and US$3 billion for therapeutics and oxygen access. These more substantive benchmarks are needed to close gaps in COVID-19 vaccine and commodity access inequalities, but this also comes at a time when the development community continues to emphasize the need to not redirect funding allocated to other development priorities. The summit ultimately helped to lay the groundwork for long-term solutions for COVID-19 and the prevention of future pandemics; an essential wake-up call in the wake of stalled vaccination rates, declining testing numbers, and wide 'COVID fatigue'.


Sources

News article - Devex

News article - New York Times

Press release - The White House

Press release - Prime Minister of Canada

Press release - European Commission

Statement - ONE Campaign

Speech - Draghi, Council of Ministries

Press release - Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet

News article - Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese)

News article - Joseilbo (in Korean)

Press release - La Monclo


Additional Contributors

Ernest Aibar

Yoorim Bang

Francesca Belli

Fabrice Ferrier

Hetty Kovach

Kristin Laub

Sally Paxton

Sydney Pagan

Chelsea Phipps

Joji Sugawara