Policy Updates

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Canada pledges another US$215 million for international COVID-19 relief

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and Canada's Minister of International Development, Karina Gould, have announced a commitment of CAD300 million (US$215 million) to support poorer countries in immediate need of humanitarian and development support, the Access to COVID-19 (ACT) Accelerator, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

This funding commitment was announced at Global Goal: Unite for Our Future – The Summit, a virtual fundraiser to support the most vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19 globally. 

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

European Investment Bank to loan CureVac US$82 million to produce COVID-19 vaccines

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and German vaccine developer, CureVac, have reached an agreement on an EU-guaranteed €75 million (US$82 million) loan for CureVac to scale up development and production of a coronavirus vaccine.

CureVac has stated that this loan could support the development of a billion doses of their innovative vaccine technology, which is based on messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules.
Press release - European Commission

UK development assistance budget to be cut in 2020

The current UK Secretary of State for International Development, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, confirmed to parliamentarians on July 6 that the UK development assistance budget will be cut in 2020 and most likely also in 2021. Trevelyan, speaking at a session of the parliamentary International Development Committee, noted that she could not confirm the exact figure of the cut, but that it could be as much as £2.0 billion (US$2.5 billion).

Trevelyan said the Department for International Development (DFID) is conducting an in-depth review of where these cuts should fall and that no final decisions have been made; however, even though no decisions have been taken, some sectors are already confirmed to be of higher priority: According to Trevelyan humanitarian work is at the "top of the list" followed by healthcare (including COVID-19 and preventable diseases). She also highlighted funding for girls’ education and climate change would be protected. It was confirmed that cuts could happen across the multilateral portfolio and could impact funding to the UK’s development finance institution, the CCD Group.

News article - Devex

Twitter - Foreign Affairs Committee

Video - UK Parliament

South Korea passes third COVID-19 supplementary budget, including increase of COVID-19 R&D budget

South Korea’s national assembly passed its third supplementary budget this year to fight COVID-19, amounting to KRW35.1 trillion (US$28.7 billion). Although the third extra budget mainly targets economic stabilization and job creation in South Korea, it also included additional budget of KRW0.2 trillion (US$163 million) allocated to research and development (R&D) and export of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. In particular, the Ministry of Health and Welfare will be provided KRW45 billion (US$37 million) for COVID-19 therapeutics R&D and KRW49 billion (US$40 million) for COVID-19 vaccine R&D.

News article – The Korea Herald

Press release – Ministry of Economy and Finance (in Korean)

Japan provides first installment of US$2 million to Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership

Japan has provided US$2 million to the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, a non-profit research and development organization that addresses antimicrobial resistance. Japan's contribution, covering the period of April 2020 to March 2021, is the first installment of a US$9 million pledge made at last year's World Health Summit in Berlin.

In addressing Japan's contribution, Japanese Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Kato Katsunobu highlighted the importance of a multisectoral approach to tackling antimicrobial resistance, and the immediate need for new antimicrobials.

Press release - Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership

Press release - Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare(in Japanese)

In US senate hearings, experts say best path forward is reform of, not departure from, WHO

Amid threats by President Trump to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard from experts on how to best respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although different views were expressed on details, the experts had a common message: work with the WHO towards reform.

Although a number of proposals for new entities to address global health security have been made, the experts warned against the creation of new structures that would work in parallel to WHO. Instead, the testimony stressed that reforming and improving the WHO was the best way forward. More funding is needed, they say, and WHO also needs stronger inspection rights so that it can better hold countries accountable. Internal US reforms are also needed, such a reinstating senior leadership in the National Security Council to coordinate global health security.  

News article - Devex

German Development Ministry makes support of partner countries in combatting COVID-19 key priority during its EU Council Presidency

On July 1, 2020, Germany assumed the Presidency of the Council of the EU, which the country will hold for the next six months. In addition to mitigating the political and socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, Germany will focus on climate protection, digitalization, and the EU’s role in the world.

The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has announced its key priority topics during the Council Presidency, putting special emphasis on supporting low- and middle-income countries to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and on providing assistance in the countries’ social and ecological restoration. Among the BMZ’s priorities are:

  • The expansion of the EU’s ‘Team Europe’ approach to support partner countries in their COVID-19 response;
  • Adopting a joint EU-Africa strategy at the EU-AU summit;
  • Finalizing a new EU agreement with countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific ('Post-Cotonou Agreement');
  • Promoting greater corporate responsibility in global supply chains; and
  • Increasing the EU’s engagement in the fields of global health, food security, and water supply in line with the 'One Health' approach.

For the German Ministry of Health (BMG), the joint response to COVID-19 and the strengthening of the EU’s future capacity to respond to health crises are key priorities during the Council Presidency. The ministry will put special emphasis on:

  • Expanding Europe’s production capacities for medical products and devices;
  • Promoting the creation of a European health data space; and
  • Strengthening European public health organizations such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Press release – BMG

Press release – BMZ (in German)

Donor Tracker to host webinar on donors’ international COVID-19 response following Global Goal Summit pledges

On July 2, 2020, from 16:00-17:00 (CEST), Donor Tracker will host a second webinar on donor countries’ international COVID-19 responses following the Global Goal Summit. The Summit, held on June 27, raised US$6.9 billion for developing globally accessible COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments.

The Donor Tracker's expert team will analyze the Summit's outcomes and discuss implications for donor countries’ further international responses to the pandemic.

Registration - Zoom 

Leaders of South Korea and EU reaffirm commitment to strengthening partnership to overcome COVID-19

During a virtual meeting held on June 30, 2020, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, President Charles Michel of the European Union, and President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission shared their commitment towards global cooperation and partnership in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Through the leaders’ meeting held via video conference, the three leaders shared their concern and commitment on the following:

  • Overcoming COVID-19 and its challenges through global partnership and solidarity utilizing effective multilateral platforms including the G20 and the UN system;
  • Strengthening response capacities and information sharing via respective health authorities and centers for disease control;
  • Ensuring access to medical products and cooperation in R&D of infectious disease vaccines and therapeutics, including providing a future COVID-19 vaccine as a global common good;
  • Reaffirming their strong support for the WHO in combatting COVID-19 globally;
  • and emphasizing all parties’ commitment towards assisting partner countries to overcome challenges concerning COVID-19 through development assistance and support for partner countries’ healthcare systems.

Press release – European Union

New Inter-Institutional Coordination Platform will bring together major stakeholders in Italian global response to COVID-19

The Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Emanuela Del Re, has announced the first meeting of the Inter-Institutional Coordination Platform on the Italian Global Response to COVID-19.

The coordination platform will bring together the main Italian actors involved in the global fight against Covid-19. Delegates from the Ministries of Foreign affairs, Health, Treasury, Economic Development, University, and Research and Agriculture will take part, as well as members of the Italian investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, members of civil society organizations and universities, research institutions the National Health Institute, and representatives from the pharmaceutical industry.

Italy is interested in the global health impact of COVID-19, but also in the pandemic's socio-economic effects, including implications on the food systems of most vulnerable countries.

Interview- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Thirteen NGOs launch call to action against "vaccine nationalism" in joint op-ed

In a joint open editorial, 13 heads of NGOs, including Doctors without Borders, Oxfam France, and ONE, expressed their concerns about "vaccine nationalism" in the fight against the COVID19 pandemic.

While some NGO leaders welcomed the promises of world leaders, including France's President Macron, to make future COVID-19 vaccines a global public good accessible to all nations, the signatories of this op-ed expressed worry about the growing competition among nations to secure access to vaccines for their own countries first.

The foundation of the Inclusive Alliance, initiated by France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, which committed to pre-purchase 400 million doses for European member states, could negatively impact countries with the most fragile health systems, according to the authors. 

For this reason, the op-ed's signatories called for the implementation of transparent processes, an agreement to benefit from vaccines at cost price, and the adoption of conditionality measures for pharmaceutical companies where public money is engaged. The authors notably asked the French Government to join the WHO COVID-19 Technology Access Pool which aims to share intellectual property and knowledge to facilitate access to the populations the most in need. 

Op-ed - Le Journal du Dimanche (in French)

Germany pledges US$418 million at Global Goal Summit

At the June 27, 2020, Global Goal Summit, hosted by the European Commission and Global Citizen, Germany pledged €383 million (US$418 million) to support the global COVID-19 response.

Of this funding, €150 million (US$164 million) will be channeled towards the Global Fund's Response Mechanism, and €233 million (US$254 million) will go to organizations helping people in low-income countries cope with the consequences of the pandemic.

In her speech, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reemphasized the importance of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics for everyone, everywhere. Together with Germany’s pledge of €525 million (US$573 million) at the Coronavirus Global Response Pledging Conference on May 4, 2020, Germany has pledged a total of €908 million (US$990 million) to the global COVID-19 response so far.

The summit raised a total of US$6.9 billion in funding to ensure universal access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

Press release – Global Citizen

Video – Global Citizen (Speech Angela Merkel)

European Commission and EIB pledge US$5.3 billion at Global Goal Summit

The European Commission (EC) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) pledged a combined €4.9 billion (US$5.3 million) in additional financing at the virtual 'Global Goal: Unite for Our Future' COVID-19 pledging event. This event, held on June 27, was co-hosted by EC and the international advocacy NGO 'Global Citizen' and was aimed at raising finances for developing globally accessible COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments. The EC and the EIB were represented at the event by EC President Ursula von der Leyen and EIB President Werner Hoyer.

The EC and EIB's combined pledge funding will come from the EIB’s “own resources” to finance loans, guarantees, and equity – in partnership with the EC and will be directed toward supporting global economic recovery particularly in vulnerable countries, assisting health preparedness, and scaling the EIB’s pipeline of COVID-19 medical tools development.
Overall, the 'Global Goal: Unite for Our Future' pledging event raised US$6.9 billion which comes in addition to the €9.8 billion (US$10.7 billion) committed during the first EC-hosted COVID-19 global response pledging event on May 4, 2020. 
Press release - European Commission
Press release - Global Citizen

Australia announces new funding for TB, antimicrobial resistance research

Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, and Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, announced that Australia will provide A$8 million (US$5 million) in funding for new research on tuberculosis (TB) and microbial resistance.

Half of the funding will be provided to the University of Sydney to target antibiotic-resistant TB in the Pacific Islands. This funding will support technical training in six Pacific countries, focusing particularly on Kiribati, which has a high incidence of TB. Other grants will assist in the rapid detection of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR TB) and community-based solutions to reduce the transmission of MDR TB.

The funding is being provided through Australia's Medical Research Futures Fund.

Press release - Minister for Foreign Affairs

Global Goal Summit raises additional US$6.9 billion for Coronavirus Global Response

Global Citizen and the European Commission (EC) hosted a closing event for the 'Global Goal: Unite for Our Future' campaign on June 27, 2020. Comprised of a summit and a celebrity-headlined concert, the event was aimed at raising funding for the development and equitable delivery of COVID-19 solutions including tests, treatments, and vaccines. 

Ultimately, the campaign succeeded in raising US$6.9 billion, which comes in addition to the approximately US$10 billion raised by world leaders at (and since) the May 4, 2020, Coronavirus Global Response Conference. Attendees and funders included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Wellcome Trust.

Funding will support:

  1. Key actors in global health cooperating to accelerate development and production of COVID-19 treatments through the World Health Organisation's ACT Accelerator;
  2. Regional and domestic organizations which are working to ensure equal access to COVID-19 treatments, once developed; and
  3. Regional and international equity collaborators working to strengthen states' resilience against the current and potential future crises.

The full list of individual countries' and organizations' contributions is available on the Global Citizen's website.

Press release - Global Citizen

Spain pledges US$11 million at Global Goal Summit

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez participated at the 'Global Goal: Unite for Our Future' COVID19 pledging summit. This event, held on June 27, was co-hosted by European Commission and the international advocacy NGO 'Global Citizen' and was aimed at raising finances for developing globally accessible COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments. 

Prime Minister Sánchez announced that Spain will provide €10 million (US$11 million) to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) aimed at combating hunger and guaranteeing nutrition standards in partner countries severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

In response to the summit, Sánchez reiterated Spain’s engagement in the global response against COVID-19 and also expressed support for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the ACT-Accelerator initiative. Furthermore, Sánchez called upon the international community to take action for protecting the most vulnerable populations worldwide, particularly women and girls.  


Press release – European Commission

Video – Pedro Sánchez's Twitter profile (in Spanish)

Netherlands pledges US$28 million at Global Goal Summit

At the Global Goal Summit, convened by Global Citizen and the European Commission in London on June 27, 2020, the Netherlands pledged €25 million (US$28 million) towards an equitable and affordable COVID-19 vaccine.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte specifically mentioned in his video statement that the amount will be directed "to the procurement of vaccines for vulnerable countries that need it most because is essential that no-one is left behind". The summit raised a total sum of €6.1 billion (US$6.9 billion).

Event website - Global Citizen

Norway pledges US$9 million at Global Goal Summit

The international organization Global Citizen and the European Commission co-hosted the Global Goal Summit on June 27, 2020 as part of a global campaign to coordinate the development of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines and to ensure equitable access to treatment for all people.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg attended the summit and pledged NOK 100 million (US$9 million). The funding will go to Gavi’s COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (Covax Facility), which is working to ensure universal vaccine access. 

Through its commitment to establishing and supporting the vaccine coalition, Cepi, and through its contribution to Gavi, the vaccine alliance, Norway has proven itself a driver for equitable global vaccine access.

Press release – Norwegian Government (in Norwegian)

Dutch Socialist Party starts petition with other European parties for free access to COVID-19 vaccine

On June 26, 2020, the Dutch Socialist Party (SP) announced a pan-European initiative with more than ten other European leftist parties to advocate for free access to a COVID-19 vaccine. Through the petition, called #Right2Cure, the coalition intends to put pressure on the European Commission (EC) to ensure free access to COVID-19 for everyone.

Despite the EC's commitment to free vaccine access, there is still a high risk that the vaccine will be privatized through patents. #Right2Cure was formed as a public pressure campaign to push back against this potential eventuality, which they see as a gross violation of human rights.

News article - SP (in Dutch)

Canada's IDRC announces ten research projects in response to COVID-19

Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has announced ten new research projects that aim to tackle the "health and social challenges created and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic". Each project involves Canadian and international researchers from the Global South. 

The projects emerged from a collaboration between IDRC and the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity. Details of each of the ten projects will be released in the coming weeks.

Press release - IDRC