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Spain's prime minister launches scientific committee on COVID-19

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez created a high-level scientific committee for providing technical advice and assessment to the Spanish government, in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. The scientific committee consists of six experts on health and epidemiology, and is headed by the  Director of the Center for Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies of the Ministry of Health, Fernando Simón.

Press release – La Moncloa (in Spanish)

Spain disburses US$33 million for research and development on COVID-19

On March 17, 2020, the Spanish government approved a COVID-19 response plan amounting to €200 billion (US$222 billion). €30 million (US$33 million) from this plan will be channeled through the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation for fostering biomedical research projects focused on COVID-19. This new funding line includes:

  • US$28 million provided to Carlos III Health Institute for administering rapid grants to Spanish researchers working on COVID-19.
  • US$5 million provided to the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) for advancing its current research (basic science, genomic) on SARS-CoV2.

On March 16, 2020, the Spanish prime minister's office 'La Moncloa' published a press release outlining the most relevant scientific efforts, initiated in Spain, for research and development of new tools aimed at diagnosing, treating and preventing COVID-19.

Press release – Ministry of Science and Innovation (in Spanish)

Spain mobilizes additional US$222 billion to fight COVID-19

Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, announced that his cabinet will mobilize €200 billion (US$222 billion) to respond to coronavirus (COVID-19). €117 billion (US$130 billion) of these funds will be disbursed by the government and €83 billion (US$92 billion) will be raised from the private sector. This adds to the €18.23 billion (US$20 billion) already pledged by the Spanish government on March 12, 2020, in response to the pandemic.

Most of these funds will be used to stimulate the Spanish economy and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 domestically, however, €30 million (US$33 million) will be channeled to the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the Spanish Health Institute Carlos III fund the development of a vaccine to protect against the virus.

Press release – La Moncloa (in Spanish)

Spanish labs launch clinical trial of antiviral with potential to reduce COVID-19 transmission rates

Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the regional government of Catalonia announced the launch of the first clinical trial to evaluate an antiviral drug's potential to reduce transmission rates. The Catalan regional government and the ‘Foundation Fight against AIDS’ will lead the trial, expected to be concluded within the month.

 Press release – Catalan regional government (in Spanish)

News article – El País (in Spanish)

With nation on lockdown, Spain's Sánchez allocates US$20 billion to COVID-19 response

On March 14, 2020, the Spanish government activated a ‘state of alarm’, confining millions of citizens to their homes and restricting all unnecessary movement, in order to reduce transmission of COVID-19. To date, at least 11,180 people are infected in Spain, the second-hardest hit country in Europe after Italy.

Prime Minister Sánchez announced an €18.2 billion (US$20 billion) plan to address the current COVID-19 crisis. Among other measures, this new plan is aimed at strengthening the Spanish national health system and counterbalancing negative economic effects resulting from the pandemic.

In addition, the Spanish government will support research initiatives to accelerate the development of new biomedical tools to prevent, diagnose, and treat COVID-19. 

Council of Ministers – La Moncloa (in Spanish)

Press release – La Moncloa (in Spanish)

Press release – La Moncloa (in Spanish)

New resource tracking donor funding for COVID-19

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a US-based non-profit organization focused on health, recently released a centralized compilation of information on donor funding for COVID-19. Their analysis is based on publicly available information and details all funding directed toward the global response to the virus. It excludes spending on domestic response efforts or economic stimulus.

Key findings include:

  • Governments, multilateral organizations, and private funders around the world have so far spent an estimated US$8.3 billion responding to the virus;
  • 91% of funds have come from donor governments, the World Bank, and other multilateral organizations; and
  • The World Bank is the largest donor so far (US$6.0 billion). The US is the second-largest donor (US$1.3 billion), followed by the Tencent/Tencent Charity Foundation (US$215 million), Alibaba (US$144 million), and the European Union (US$140 million).

KFF plans to update the tracker as this global health emergency continues to unfold.

In addition to KFF's work on donor funding for COVID-19, other efforts to provide data-driven information on the outbreak have begun to emerge. Our World in Data's COVID-19 article is a particularly useful resource. Their aim is to help readers make sense of early data on the coronavirus outbreak. The article will continue to be updated as the situation develops.

Report - KFF

Spanish government strengthening commitment to gender equality

In anticipation of International Women’s Day  (March 8), the cabinet of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez released an institutional statement stressing Spain's plan to strengthen its commitment to promoting gender equality worldwide.

Spain has endorsed the UN Women’s Generation Equality Forum and the ‘Beijing Declaration’. The Spanish government also underlined the importance of Sustainable Development Goals for fostering women empowerment and strengthening the fight against gender-based discrimination. 

Council of Ministers – La Moncloa (in Spanish)

Spain

Spain’s development leadership visits ISGlobal facilities in Barcelona

Ángeles Moreno, the Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation, visited the headquarters of the Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal) in Barcelona. ISGlobal is a research center working to address global health challenges and disparities.

Moreno met with the general director of ISGlobal. They discussed Spain’s engagement in global health, as well as the key role of research and development in fostering the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. Other important issues, including health equity and climate change, were addressed in the meeting.

Press release – AECID (in Spanish)

Spain Global health R&D

Spanish Foreign Minister inaugurates G5 Sahel summit in Mauritania

The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, visited Mauritania on February 24-25, 2020, to inaugurate the annual summit of the G5 Sahel. The G5 Sahel is a regional organization made up of national governments from Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Chad. González Laya initiated the summit by reiterating Spain’s strong commitment to the Sahel region and to the G5 Sahel. 

González Laya also participated in the first General Assembly of the Sahel Alliance. The Alliance is an international cooperation platform that fosters sustainable development in the region. It comprises of members from donor and partner countries, development banks, and international organizations.

Spain pledged €85 million (US$94 million) through the December 2018 Sahel Alliance replenishment conference, which will go toward implementing up to 35 development cooperation projects in the Sahel region. 

Press release – Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Spanish)

Spain

Spanish Foreign Minister outlines strategic priorities to parliament

The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union, and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, outlined her strategic priorities in a parliamentary hearing at the Congress of Deputies’ Foreign Affairs Committee. González Laya stated that Spain will actively work against nationalist approaches to international relations and stressed the importance of multilateralism, human rights, and the Agenda 2030.

Based on her remarks, Spain’s foreign priorities for the current term of office will include:

  • Democratic governance, human rights, and gender equality;
  • Multilateralism and regional integration;
  • Global economy and socioeconomic progress;
  • Climate change and sustainable development; and
  • Spain’s foreign service. 

Spain is expected to focus it's foreign policy efforts on the European Union, Latin America, Northern Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. 

González Laya also reiterated the Spanish Foreign Ministry's commitment to increasing Spain’s development assistance to 0.5% of its gross national income (GNI) by 2023. She stated that Spain will adopt a feminist foreign policy, and announced that a new law for international development cooperation will be discussed in 2020.

Press release – Congress of Deputies (in Spanish)

Transcript of minister González hearing – MAEUEC (in Spanish)

Spain